The appearance of Alain Resnais' 1955 French documentary Night and Fog heralded the beginning of a new form of cinema, one that used the narrative techniques of modernism to provoke a new historical consciousness. Afterimage presents a theory of posttraumatic film based on the encounter between cinema and the Holocaust. Locating its origin in the vivid shock of wartime footage, Afterimage focuses on a group of crucial documentary and fiction films that were pivotal to the spread of this cinematic form across different nations and genres.
Joshua Hirsch explores the changes in documentary brought about by cinema verite, culminating in Shoah. He then turns to teh appearance of a fictional posttraumatic cinema, tracing its development through the vivid flashbacks in Resnais' Hiroshima, mon amour to the portrayal of pain and memory in Pawnbroker. He excavates a posttraumatic autobiography in three early films by the Hungarian Istvan Szabo. Finally, Hirsch examines the effects of postmodernism on posttraumatic cinema, looking at Schindler's List and a work about a different form of historical trauma, History and Memory, a videotape dealing with the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.
Sweeping in its scope, Afterimage presents a new way of thinking about film and history, trauma and its representation.
In war films, the portrayal of deep friendships between men is commonplace. Given the sexually anxious nature of the American imagination, such bonds are often interpreted as carrying a homoerotic subtext. In Armed Forces , Robert Eberwein argues that an expanded conception of masculinity and sexuality is necessary in order to understand more fully the intricacy of these intense and emotional human relationships. Drawing on a range of examples from silent films such as What Price Glory and Wings to sound era works like The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Three Kings, and Pearl Harbor , he shows how close readings of war films, particularly in relation to their cultural contexts, demonstrate that depictions of heterosexual love, including those in romantic triangles, actually help to define and clarify the nonsexual nature of male love. The book also explores the problematic aspects of masculinity and sexuality when threatened by wounds, as in The Best Years of Our Lives, and considers the complex and persistent analogy between weapons and the male body, as in Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan .
Ken Sutak Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2012 Library of Congress PN1995.9.J46S88 2012 | Dewey Decimal 791.436529924
A unique look at how these Jewish-themed movies prepared Americans for war with Nazi Germany, rallied the Allies to victory, fought anti-Semitism, portrayed the Holocaust in Europe, and captured the refugee exodus to Israel. Featuring 200 rare movie posters, publicity stills, and other images in full-color. An ebook companion volume to the acclaimed exhibit.
The American popular imagination has long portrayed World War II as the “good war,” fought by the “greatest generation” for the sake of freedom and democracy. Yet, combat films and other war media complicate this conventional view by indulging in explosive displays of spectacular violence. Combat sequences, Tanine Allison argues, construct a counter-narrative of World War II by reminding viewers of the war’s harsh brutality.
Destructive Sublime traces a new aesthetic history of the World War II combat genre by looking back at it through the lens of contemporary video games like Call of Duty. Allison locates some of video games’ glorification of violence, disruptive audiovisual style, and bodily sensation in even the most canonical and seemingly conservative films of the genre. In a series of case studies spanning more than seventy years—from wartime documentaries like The Battle of San Pietro to fictional reenactments like The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan to combat video games like Medal of Honor—this book reveals how the genre’s aesthetic forms reflect (and influence) how American culture conceives of war, nation, and representation itself.
Popular media can spark the national consciousness in a way that captures people’s attention, interests them in history, and inspires them to visit battlefields, museums, and historic sites. This lively collection of essays and feature stories celebrates the novels, popular histories, magazines, movies, television shows, photography, and songs that have enticed Americans to learn more about our most dramatic historical era.
From Ulysses S. Grant’s Memoirs to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, from Roots to Ken Burns’s The Civil War, from “Dixie” to “Ashokan Farewell,” and from Civil War photography to the Gettysburg Cyclorama, trendy and well-loved depictions of the Civil War are the subjects of twenty contributors who tell how they and the general public have been influenced by them. Sarah Kay Bierle examines the eternal appeal of Gone with the Wind and asks how it is that a protagonist who so opposed the war has become such a figurehead for it. H. R. Gordon talks with New York Times–bestselling novelist Jeff Shaara to discuss the power of storytelling. Paul Ashdown explores ColdMountain’s value as a portrait of the war as national upheaval, and Kevin Pawlak traces a shift in cinema’s depiction of slavery epitomized by 12 Years a Slave. Tony Horwitz revisits his iconic Confederates in the Attic twenty years later.
The contributors’ fresh analysis articulates a shared passion for history’s representation in the popular media. The variety of voices and topics in this collection coalesces into a fascinating discussion of some of the most popular texts in the genres. In keeping with the innovative nature of this series, web-exclusive material extends the conversation beyond the book.
This volume is about power. It is about the power to make war and to destroy lives. It is also about another kind of power-the power to make images that may distort, displace, and destroy knowledge of the times in which those lives were lived. Many of the nineteen essays gathered in this volume are about the interrelationships between these two types of power. They demonstrate, as well, yet another type of power, the power of critical thinking to challenge dangerous myths and to confront prevailing ideologies.
The title of this anthology calls attention to the process whereby aspects of the Vietnam War have been appropriated by the American cultural industry. Probing the large body of emotion-laden, controversial films, From Hanoi to Hollywood is concerned with the retelling of history and the retrospection that such a process involves. In this anthology, an awareness of film as a cultural artifact that molds beliefs and guides action is emphasized, an awareness that the contributors bring to a variety of films. Their essays span over one hundred documentary and fiction films, and include in-depth analyses of major commercial films, ranging from Apocalypse Now to Platoon, Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Full Metal Jacket, and documentaries from In the Year of the Pig to Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam.
The essays fin this volume deal with representations of the Vietnam war in documentary film and television reporting, examining the ways the power of film is used to deliver political messages. There are surprises here, new readings, and important insights on the ways we as a society have attempted to come to terms with the experiences of the Vietnam era. The book also contains two appendixes-a detailed chronology charting the relationship between major historical events and the release of American war films from 1954 through 1988, and a filmography listing information on over four hundred American and foreign films about the Vietnam War.
Combining action, violence, and deeply conflicted emotions, war has always been a topic made for the big screen. In The Hollywood War Film, Daniel Binns considers how war has been depicted throughout the history of cinema. Looking at depictions of both World Wars, the Vietnam War, and the major conflicts in the Middle East, Binns reflects on representations of war and conflict, revealing how Hollywood has made the war film not just a genre, but a dynamic cultural phenomenon.
Looking closely at films such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Full Metal Jacket, and The Hurt Locker, Binns reveals the commonalities in Hollywood films despite the distinct conflicts and eras they represent, and he shows how contemporary war films closely echo earlier films in their nationalistic and idealistic depictions. Offering a trenchant analysis of some of the most important war films from the past century, this book will be of interest to anyone who has been captivated by how film has dealt with one of humanity’s most difficult, but far too common, realities.
The German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II left a lasting mark on Dutch memory and culture. This book is the first to explore depictions of that period in films made a generation later, between 1962 and 1986. As Dutch public opinion towards the war altered over the postwar decades, the historical trajectory of Dutch recovery and reconstruction-political, economic, and, most complicated of all, psychological-came to be revealed, often unconsciously, in the films of the period.
The Vietnam War has been depicted by every available medium, each presenting a message, an agenda, of what the filmmakers and producers choose to project about America's involvement in Southeast Asia. This collection of essays, most of which are previously unpublished, analyzes the themes, modes, and stylistic strategies seen in a broad range of films and television programs.
From diverse perspectives, the contributors comprehensively examine early documentary and fiction films, postwar films of the 1970s such as The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now, and the reformulated postwar films of the 1980s--Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Born on the Fourth of July. They also address made-for-television movies and serial dramas like China Beach and Tour of Duty. The authors show how the earliest film responses to America's involvement in Vietnam employ myth and metaphor and are at times unable to escape glamorized Hollywood. Later films strive to portray a more realistic Vietnam experience, often creating images that are an attempt to memorialize or to manufacture different kinds of myths. As they consider direct and indirect representations of the war, the contributors also examine the power or powerlessness of individual soldiers, the racial views presented, and inscriptions of gender roles. Also included in this volume is a chapter that discusses teaching Vietnam films and helping students discern and understand film rhetoric, what the movies say, and who they chose to communicate those messages.
Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).
Introduction - Michael Anderegg
1. Hollywood and Vietnam: John Wayne and Jane Fonda as Discourse - Michael Anderegg
2. "All the Animals Come Out at Night": Vietnam Meets Noir in Taxi Driver - Cynthia J. Fuchs
3. Vietnam and the Hollywood Genre Film: Inversions of American Mythology in The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now - John Hellmann
4. "Charlie Don't Surf": Race and Culture in the Vietnam War Films - David Desser
5. Finding a Language for Vietnam in the Action-Adventure Genre - Ellen Draper
6. Narrative Patterns and Mythic Trajectories in Mid-1980s Vietnam Movies - Tony Williams
7. Rambo's Vietnam and Kennedy's New Frontier - John Hellmann
8. Gardens of Stone, Platoon, and Hamburger Hill: Ritual and Remembrance - Judy Lee Kinney
9. Primetime Television's Tour of Duty - Daniel Miller
10. Women Next Door to War: China Beach - Carolyn Reed Vartanian
11. Male Bonding, Hollywood Orientalism, and the Repression of the Feminine in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket - Susan White
12. Vietnam, Chaos, and the Dark Art of Improvisation - Owen W. Gilman, Jr.
13. Witness to War: Oliver Stone, Ron Kovic, and Born on the Fourth of July - Thomas Doherty
14. Teaching Vietnam: The Politics of Documentary - Thomas J. Slater
Selected Filmography and Videography
About the Author(s)
Michael Anderegg is Professor of English at the University of North Dakota, and author of two other books: William Wyler and David Lean.
Contributors: Cynthia J. Fuchs, John Hellman, David Desser, Ellen Draper, Tony Williams, Judy Lee Kinney, Daniel Miller, Carolyn Reed Vartanian, Susan White, Owen W. Gilman, Jr., Thomas Doherty, Thomas J. Slater, and the editor.
In 2008, Waltz with Bashir shocked the world by presenting a bracing story of war in what seemed like the most unlikely of formats—an animated film. Yet as Donna Kornhaber shows in this pioneering new book, the relationship between animation and war is actually as old as film itself. The world’s very first animated movie was made to solicit donations for the Second Boer War, and even Walt Disney sent his earliest creations off to fight on gruesome animated battlefields drawn from his First World War experience. As Kornhaber strikingly demonstrates, the tradition of wartime animation, long ignored by scholars and film buffs alike, is one of the world’s richest archives of wartime memory and witness.
Generation after generation, artists have turned to this most fantastical of mediums to capture real-life horrors they can express in no other way. From Chinese animators depicting the Japanese invasion of Shanghai to Bosnian animators portraying the siege of Sarajevo, from African animators documenting ethnic cleansing to South American animators reflecting on torture and civil war, from Vietnam-era protest films to the films of the French Resistance, from firsthand memories of Hiroshima to the haunting work of Holocaust survivors, the animated medium has for more than a century served as a visual repository for some of the darkest chapters in human history. It is a tradition that continues even to this day, in animated shorts made by Russian dissidents decrying the fighting in Ukraine, American soldiers returning from Iraq, or Middle Eastern artists commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Arab Spring, or the ongoing crisis in Yemen.
Nightmares in the Dream Sanctuary: War and the Animated Film vividly tells the story of these works and many others, covering the full history of animated film and spanning the entire globe. A rich, serious, and deeply felt work of groundbreaking media history, it is also an emotional testament to the power of art to capture the endurance of the human spirit in the face of atrocity.
In Picturing American Modernity, Kristen Whissel investigates the relationship between early American cinema and the experience of technological modernity. She demonstrates how between the late 1890s and the eve of the First World War moving pictures helped the U.S. public understand the possibilities and perils of new forms of “traffic” produced by industrialization and urbanization. As more efficient ways to move people, goods, and information transformed work and leisure at home and contributed to the expansion of the U.S. empire abroad, silent films presented compelling visual representations of the spaces, bodies, machines, and forms of mobility that increasingly defined modern life in the United States and its new territories.
Whissel shows that by portraying key events, achievements, and anxieties, the cinema invited American audiences to participate in the rapidly changing world around them. Moving pictures provided astonishing visual dispatches from military camps prior to the outbreak of fighting in the Spanish-American War. They allowed audiences to delight in images of the Pan-American Exposition, and also to mourn the assassination of President McKinley there. One early film genre, the reenactment, presented spectators with renditions of bloody battles fought overseas during the Philippine-American War. Early features offered sensational dramatizations of the scandalous “white slave trade,” which was often linked to immigration and new forms of urban work and leisure. By bringing these frequently distant events and anxieties “near” to audiences in cities and towns across the country, the cinema helped construct an American national identity for the machine age.
Mixing film history with social history, Reel Patriotism examines the role played by the American film industry during World War I and the effects of the industry’s pragmatic patriotism in the decade following the war. Looking at such films as Joan the Woman and Wings and at the war-time activities of Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, film distributors, including George Kleine, and the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry, this book shows how heavily publicized gestures of patriotism benefited the reputation and profits of the movie business.
Leslie Midkiff DeBauche shows how the United States government’s need to garner public support for the war, conserve food, raise money, and enlist soldiers was met by the film industry. Throughout the nineteen months of American involvement in World War I, film studios supported the war effort through the production of short instructional films, public speaking activities of movie stars, the civic forum provided by movie theaters, and the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry’s provision of administrative personnel to work directly with government agencies. While feature films about the war itself never dominated the release schedules of film distributors, they did become a staple film industry offering throughout the late 1910s and 1920s.
The film industry had much to gain, DeBauche demonstrates, from working closely with the U.S. government. Though the war posed a direct challenge to the conduct of business as usual, the industry successfully weathered the war years. After the war, film producers, distributors, and exhibitors were able to capitalize on the good will of the movie-goer and the government that the industry’s war work created. It provided a buffer against national censorship when movie stars became embroiled in scandal, and it served as a selling point in the 1920s when major film companies began to trade their stock on Wall Street.
From Skirts Ahoy! to M*A*S*H, Private Benjamin, G.I. Jane, and JAG, films and television shows have grappled with the notion that military women are contradictory figures, unable to be both effective soldiers and appropriately feminine. In Soldiers’ Stories, Yvonne Tasker traces this perceived paradox across genres including musicals, screwball comedies, and action thrillers. She explains how, during the Second World War, women were portrayed as auxiliaries, temporary necessities of “total war.” Later, nursing, with its connotations of feminine care, offered a solution to the “gender problem.” From the 1940s through the 1970s, musicals, romances, and comedies exploited the humorous potential of the gender role reversal that the military woman was taken to represent. Since the 1970s, female soldiers have appeared most often in thrillers and legal and crime dramas, cast as isolated figures, sometimes victimized and sometimes heroic. Soldiers’ Stories is a comprehensive analysis of representations of military women in film and TV since the 1940s. Throughout, Tasker relates female soldiers’ provocative presence to contemporaneous political and cultural debates and to the ways that women’s labor and bodies are understood and valued.
Specters of War looks at the way war has been brought to the screen in various genres and at different historical moments throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Elisabeth Bronfen asserts that Hollywood has emerged as a place where national narratives are created and circulated so that audiences can engage with fantasies, ideologies, and anxieties that take hold at a given time, only to change with the political climate.
Such cultural reflection is particularly poignant when it deals with America’s traumatic history of war. The nation has no direct access to war as a horrific experience of carnage and human destruction; we understand our relation to it through images and narratives that transmit and interpret it for us. Bronfen does not discuss actual conflicts but the films by which we have come to know and remember them, including All Quiet on the Western Front, The Best Years of Our Lives, Miracle at St. Anna, The Deer Hunter, and Flags of Our Fathers. Battles and campaigns, the home front and women-who-wait narratives, war correspondents, and court martials are also explored as instruments of cultural memory. Bronfen argues that we are haunted by past wars and by cinematic re-conceptualizations of them, and reveals a national iconography of redemptive violence from which we seem unable to escape.
From the onset of the film medium, directors have found war an endlessly compelling and fruitful subject for their art. In War and Film, Chapman explores their fascination as well as audiences’ enduring need to examine and experience the vicissitudes of war.
Chapman examines the issues of truthfulness and realism that arise in depictions of war, whether in the supposed truth telling of war documentaries or Hollywood battle scenes that are “more realistic than the real thing.” The book considers films from the U. S., Britain, and Europe, and the national responses to cinematic depictions of particular conflicts. In case studies of such legendary works as Das Boot, Apocalypse Now, and All Quiet on the Western Front, the book parses their dominant narrative themes, ranging from war as a pointless tragedy to combat as an exciting and heroic adventure. But few films, Chapman contends, probe into the deeper ramifications of war—the psychological scars left on the soldier and civilians.
A study of remarkable breadth and scope, War and Film exposes the power of cinema in shaping our perceptions of violent conflict.
The War Film
Eberwein, Robert Rutgers University Press, 2004 Library of Congress PN1995.9.W3W36 2005 | Dewey Decimal 791.43658
War has had a powerful impact on the film industry. But it is not only wars that affect films; films influence war-time behavior and incisively shape the way we think about the battles that have been waged.
In The War Film, Robert Eberwein brings together essays by scholars using a variety of critical approaches to explore this enduringly popular film genre. Contributors examine the narrative and aesthetic elements of war films from four perspectives: consideration of generic conventions in works such as All Quiet on the Western Front, Bataan, and The Thin Red Line; treatment of race in various war films, including Glory, Home of the Brave, Platoon,and Hamburger Hill; aspects of gender, masculinity and feminism in The Red Badge of Courage, Rambo, Dogfight, and Courage under Fire; and analysis of the impact of contemporary history on the production and reception of films such as The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, Saving Private Ryan, and We Were Soldiers.
Drawing attention to the dynamic interrelationships among politics, nationalism, history, gender, and film, this comprehensive anthology is bound to become a classroom favorite.
Jonna Eagle Rutgers University Press, 2020 Library of Congress U310.E24 2019 | Dewey Decimal 793.92
The word “wargames” might seem like a contradiction in terms. After all, the declaration “This is war” is meant to signal that things have turned deadly serious, that there is no more playing around. Yet the practices of war are intimately entangled with practices of gaming, from military videogames to live battle reenactments. How do these forms of play impact how both soldiers and civilians perceive acts of war?
This Quick Take considers how various war games and simulations shape the ways we imagine war. Paradoxically, these games grant us a sense of mastery and control as we strategize and scrutinize the enemy, yet also allow us the thrilling sense of being immersed in the carnage and chaos of battle. But as simulations of war become more integrated into both popular culture and military practice, how do they shape our apprehension of the traumatic realities of warfare?
Covering everything from chess to football, from Saving Private Ryan to American Sniper, and from Call of Duty to drone interfaces, War Games is an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand the militarization of American culture, offering a compact yet comprehensive look at how we play with images of war.