Posts Tagged ‘war’

Where have all the flowers gone Lili Marlene?

Sarajevo, 28th of June 1914, Gavrilo Princip fulfills his destiny. He was the banana peel the 20th century slipped on, the most slippery trap the self-absorbed and arrogant 19th could have ever produce in its putrid and negligent superiority. What an awkward fall it was the 20th desperately trying to regain balance hanging on to the 21st. Ridiculous death dance. Meanwhile the tenant at no. 12 Spielgasse, Zürich, Volodya Ulianov (Lenin), got really drunk on Marx and Dada just down the street at Caffe Voltaire and perfected the fall to a domino effect. He said “of all the arts, for us the cinema is the most important”. That can still sound really appealing to cinema lovers and cineastes. He knew what a reality-distorting, illusion-feeding medium cinema can be. That it can serve politics the way biblia paupera served religion; emotionally dominating the masses, feeding fear, annihilating reason. Cinema gained its formal independence and identity in the bloody mires of last century’s wars and totalitarian regimes but it’s content was suffocated by political propaganda. Lev Kulesov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Sergei Eisenstein and Leni Riefenstahl were slaves in the mire feeling like heroes. Everybody, just hang on tight to freedom, reason, and memory!

The man who stare at goats – Grant Heslov

The man who stares at goats is a big promise. The story is a satire on the U.S. Army’s alternative fighting experiments based on Jon Ronsons’s best seller. The cast is impressive (George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey) and together with the plot it should guarantee an acid satire.

The start is promising; the cast is filling the high expectations, more or less, is handling this black-comedy with great skill: George Clooney and Jeff Bridges are outstanding, Ewan McGregor follows them closely and Kevin Spacey is a bit behind. The story is promising good laughs; the new eco-friendly war techniques of the “Jedi” warriors are absurd and hilarious.

After enjoying some satire elements spread across the narrative, one is eager to see them coming together, forming an arrow and shooting someone or something down. But it does not happen. Institutions, policies that could have been pinched hardly are unharmed. U.S. Army is still standing, war in Iraq still standing, right-wing policy still standing. Am I missing something here or this would have been a good opportunity to embarrass these?

Anyway it is worth seeing these four cool guys at work, and there are some moments when all things come together and pure satire is created. It is a pity that it only happens occasionally and that in the end satire is just a tamed shadow of itself.

If you really are in the mood for a perfect satire on war, you should watch Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, of course. You should watch it anyway.

Watch them both!

I used the word “satire” too many times. I think I miss the genre.

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