It is one thing to study war
And another to live the warrior`s life.
Telamon of Arcadia,
mercenary of the fifth century B.C.
I do believe that all the good war movies are essentially anti-war movies. My interest in this topic has nothing to do with glorifying the event. On the very contrary. I’m glad and thankful I never had to experience it. Still it is a fact, something whose existence we cannot deny. Something that has horrible consequences for everyone enduring it.
My father fought in one of the lesser known wars. Being French he was drafted as an 18 year old and sent to Algeria where he stayed for three years as a simple private. He told me a lot about it. I heard the most unimaginably horrible things. Things that I haven’t even seen depicted in the most gruesome war movies. I knew he suffered nightmares and still does. I knew he carried wounded comrades on his back for whole days to find when he put them down that they had died in the meantime. He saw his best friend mutilated and butchered.
I wanted to understand. Not only on an intellectual level but on an emotional one as well. Isn’t it one of the worst experiences for returning soldiers to face the fact that no one really understands what they have been through?
Apart from this I always enjoyed movies as an art form. And I do believe, considering so many outstanding producers, film directors, composers and actors participate in war movies, that they have their own very special appeal.
I still close my eyes sometimes when very gruesome events take place on the screen but one may also witness sheer beauty. Comradeship, bravery, courage.
In the end they remind us of live’s utter fragility.