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War films

From: Anthon
Category: Films
Date: 06 July 2004


The plot is this – one country invades another weaker country (it happens all the time) and charges around bombarding it. People are killed. Lots of people are killed. Songs are sung. Stupid and good people die. Women are raped. Men feel strong in their armour, men feel strong about each other. Beautiful friendships are borne out of fighting together. It is hard, it is tough to leave your country and go and kill some people some where else. They need some humour. They need something to keep their spirits up, to help them impose their will on other people. In flies a comedian. A funny man. We are supposed to find this man funny – to be lifted up by his humanity, his mild irreverence of the army system.. Yet these are the baddies – why should we care if they are losing this fight? That their morale is low? I probably was about 10 years old when I first watched ‘Good Morning Vietnam’, and being ignorant and a child I probably quite enjoyed it. By the time I was about 15 I think that I had tired of Vietnam films though War films in general for me were dull. Along with this from an early age I felt furious about the existence of armies (wilfully naďve some might say), weapons and patriotism. All these things to me could only be bad. I can’t remember my parents being particularly vocally anti these things – though I would partly like to believe that they were, and at the same time partly like to believe that I decided these things for my self at my young age, and that there is a good reason, a true reason for my dislike of them - that my childish purity and innocent picked out bad things and sought an ideal world (again perhaps naďve that I should want to believe in some kind of truth). So to watch one of the ‘better’ war films again years later is shocking.

Immediately I see why it is a nice film to watch. Romantic shots of industrious American soldiers. Bundled up together in trucks, with smiling white toothed smiles. Sentimentality oozing out – sickly references we (who ever the hell we have now become – American soldiers of the Vietnam war I think. Patriots who believe in the excellence of our leaders to make the right, morally right choices) will understand about their home and background (our home and background). This tactic brings the brutality of this war closer to our home (rather than being many miles away). We remember that these are ‘our’ people. Of course with any thing we say we are always making a million assumptions about the person who listens, their ideas and belief systems. Otherwise we would never say any thing – like me in this review. Any way the series of assumptions made in this film are revolting. To me, with my systems. So first we have the glorification of a horrible invasion of a country. Then we are wooed by the excitement of the hero’s disrespect to his seniors – we all love to see a man stand up against the shitty systems, its exciting, its what we all want to do. He is funny intelligent and is our hero. Glimpsing a woman in the street he falls in love. Yes this is true pure love, that is more than just the objectification of women. It is more than her body, her pretty face, her feminine delicacy, it is even more than their ability to communicate in a common language. It is beyond all that. They cannot communicated but we are lead to believe that she does love him. It is true love. It is unlike the love that happens between his immoral peers and their prostitutes. Very different, in that he does not have sex with her, in that they show the character to believe himself a good man, rather than a man who just wants sex. He is made in to a hero of upstanding moral fibre with this shabby version of love of a woman. A woman who barely speaks. This is to be pretty much our only idea of women that is presented in the film. A silent woman whose poor English is barely audible. The perfect person to have a meaningful relationship with. How can she be anything other than an object, a thing to have sex with?

So we have narrowed the search down. This film is for men. Preferably white men who want sex uncomplicated by a shared language with other party involved.

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