ⓘ War film


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Donbass is a 2018 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Sergei Loznitsa. It was selected as the opening film in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Loznitsa won the Un Certain Regard award for Best Director, as well as the Silver Pyramid at the 40th Cairo International Film Festival. It was selected as the Ukrainian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated. It was filmed in Kryvy Rih, 300 km west of Donetsk At the 49th International Film Festival of India it received Best Film: Golden P ...


Lebanon (2009 film)

Lebanon is a 2009 internationally co-produced war film directed by Samuel Maoz. It won the Golden Lion at the 66th Venice International Film Festival, becoming the first Israeli-produced film to have won that honour. In Israel itself the film has caused some controversy. The film was nominated for ten Ophir Awards, including Best Film. The film also won the 14th Annual Satyajit Ray Award. Maoz based the film on his experience as a young Israeli conscript during the 1982 Lebanon War. The British newspaper The Guardian has described it as an anti-war film.


The Front (1943 film)

Pavel Volkov as Miron Gorlov Boris Zhukovsky as Ivan Gorlov Boris Babochkin as Ognev Zh. Oguzbaev as Shayakhmetov Andrei Apsolon Boris Dmokhovsky as Blagonravov Boris Chirkov as Udivitelnyy Aleksandr Ilyinsky Nikolay Kryuchkov as Sergei Gorlov Vladimir Gremin Pavel Geraga as Kolos Lev Sverdlin as Gaidar Pyotr Sobolevsky Anna Petukhova as Marusya as A. Petukhova Yuriy Korshun Boris Blinov as Ostapenko Vasili Vanin as Khripun N. Kostov as Gomelauri A. Chepurnov as Bashlykov



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Alexander Nevsky (film)

Alexander Nevsky is a 1938 historical drama film directed by Sergei Eisenstein. It depicts the attempted invasion of Novgorod in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights of the Holy Roman Empire and their defeat by Prince Alexander, known popularly as Alexander Nevsky. Eisenstein made the film in association with Dmitri Vasilyev and with a script co-written with Pyotr Pavlenko; they were assigned to ensure that Eisenstein did not stray into "formalism" and to facilitate shooting on a reasonable timetable. It was produced by Goskino via the Mosfilm production unit, with Nikolai Cherkasov in ...


Battle of the Bulge (1965 film)

Battle of the Bulge is a 1965 American widescreen epic war film produced in Spain, directed by Ken Annakin, and starring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews, and Charles Bronson. The feature was filmed in Ultra Panavision 70 and exhibited in 70 mm Cinerama. Battle of the Bulge had its world premiere on December 16, 1965, the 21st anniversary of the titular battle, at the Pacific Cinerama Dome Theatre in Hollywood, California. The filmmakers attempted to condense the Ardennes Counteroffensive, a World War II battle that stretched across parts of Germany, Belgi ...

War film

ⓘ War film

War film is a film genre concerned with warfare, typically about naval, air, or land battles, with combat scenes central to the drama. It has been strongly associated with the 20th century. The fateful nature of battle scenes means that war films often end with them. Themes explored include combat, survival and escape, camaraderie between soldiers, sacrifice, the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and the moral and human issues raised by war. War films are often categorized by their milieu, such as the Korean War; the most popular subject is the Second World War. The stories told may be fiction, historical drama, or biographical. Critics have noted similarities between the Western and the war film.

Nations such as China, Indonesia, Japan, and Russia have their own traditions of war film, centred on their own revolutionary wars but taking varied forms, from action and historical drama to wartime romance.

Subgenres, not necessarily distinct, include anti-war, comedy, animated, propaganda, and documentary. There are similarly subgenres of the war film in specific theatres such as the Western Desert of North Africa, the Pacific in the Second World War, or Vietnam; and films set in specific domains of war, such as the infantry, the air, at sea, in submarines or at prisoner of war camps.


1. Genre

The war film genre is not necessarily tightly defined: the American Film Institute, for example, speaks of "films to grapple with the Great War" without attempting to classify these. However, some directors and critics have offered at least tentative definitions. The director Sam Fuller defined the genre by saying that "a war film’s objective, no matter how personal or emotional, is to make a viewer feel war." John Belton identified four narrative elements of the war film within the context of Hollywood production: a) the suspension of civilian morality during times of war, b) primacy of collective goals over individual motivations, c) rivalry between men in predominantly male groups as well as marginalization and objectification of women, and d) depiction of the reintegration of veterans.

The film critic Stephen Neale suggests that the genre is for the most part well defined and uncontentious, since war films are simply those about war being waged in the 20th century, with combat scenes central to the drama. However, Neale notes, films set in the American Civil War or the American Indian Wars of the 19th century were called war films in the time before the First World War. The critic Julian Smith argues, on the contrary, that the war film lacks the formal boundaries of a genre like the Western, but that in practice, "successful and influential" war films are about modern wars, in particular World War II, with the combination of mobile forces and mass killing. The film scholar Kathryn Kane points out some similarities between the war film genre and the Western. Both genres use opposing concepts like war and peace, civilization and savagery. War films usually frame World War II as a conflict between "good" and "evil" as represented by the Allied forces and Nazi Germany whereas the Western portrays the conflict between civilized settlers and the savage indigenous peoples. James Clarke notes the similarity between a Western like Sam Peckinpahs The Wild Bunch and "war-movie escapades" like The Dirty Dozen.

Film historian Jeanine Basinger states that she began with a preconception of what the war film genre would be, namely that

What I knew in advance was what presumably every member of our culture would know about World War II combat films - that they contained a hero, a group of mixed types at how film-makers from America and Britain "play fast and loose with the facts", yet imply that "their version is as good as the truth." For example, he calls the 2000 American film U-571 a "shameless deception" for pretending that a US warship had helped to win the Battle of the Atlantic - seven months before America entered the war. He is equally critical of Christopher Nolans 2017 film Dunkirk with its unhistorically empty beaches, low-level air combat over the sea, and rescues mainly by the "little ships". Beevor feels, however, that European film-makers are often "far more scrupulous"; for example, in his view the 2004 German film Downfall accurately depicted the historical events of Hitlers final days in his Berlin bunker, and he considers the 1965 French film The 317th Platoon, set in Vietnam, "the greatest war movie ever made." The 1966 film The Battle of Algiers is, he argues, a close second.


2.1. History American Civil War

The costliest war in U.S. history in terms of American life, this war has been the subject of, or the backdrop to, numerous films, documentaries and mini-series. One of the earliest films using the Civil War as its subject was D.W. Griffiths 1910 silent picture, The Fugitive. Films that have the war as its main subject, or about a certain aspect of the war include the 1989 film, Glory, about the first formal unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War to be made up entirely of black men. Some films such as Gettysburg focused on a single battle during the war, or even on a single incident, like the French short film, La Riviere du Hibou An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Others like the 1993 miniseries North and South spanned the entire breadth of the war. Some films deal with the human aspects of the war, such as The Red Badge of Courage 1951, or Shenandoah 1965, on the tragedy that the war inflicted on the civilian population. Ken Burnss The Civil War is the most watched documentary in the history of PBS.


2.2. History The Spanish–American War

The first war films come from the Spanish–American War of 1898. Short "actualities" – documentary film-clips – included Burial of the Maine Victims, Blanket-Tossing of a New Recruit, and Soldiers Washing Dishes. These non-combat films were accompanied by "reenactments" of fighting, such as of Theodore Roosevelts "Rough Riders" in action against the Spanish, staged in the United States.


2.3. History First World War

During the First World War, many films were made about life in the war. Topics included prisoners of war, covert operations, and military training. Both the Central Powers and the Allies produced war documentaries. The films were also used as propaganda in neutral countries like the United States. Among these was a film shot on the Eastern Front by official war photographer to the Central Powers, Albert K. Dawson: The Battle and Fall of Przemysl 1915, depicting the Siege of Przemysl, disastrous for the Austrians, with incidents reenacted using soldiers as extras. The 1915 Australian film Within Our Gates also known as Deeds that Won Gallipoli by Frank Harvey was described by the Motion Picture News as "a really good war story, which is exceptional".

The 1916 British film The Battle of the Somme, by two official cinematographers, Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, combined documentary and propaganda, seeking to give the public an impression of what trench warfare was like. Much of the film was shot on location at the Western Front in France; it had a powerful emotional impact. It was watched by some 20 million people in Britain in its six weeks of exhibition, making it what the critic Francine Stock called "one of the most successful films of all time". The 1925 American film The Big Parade depicted unglamorous elements of war: the protagonist loses his leg, and his friends are killed. William A. Wellmans Wings 1927 was the first film in any genre, and the only silent film, to win an Oscar for best picture. Later films of varied genres that deal with the First World War include David Leans "colossal epic", both war film and biopic Lawrence of Arabia 1962, shot in the then unfamiliar and exciting 70mm Technicolor, and described by Steven Spielberg as "maybe the greatest screenplay ever written for the motion-picture medium"; Richard Attenboroughs satirical anti-war musical comedy based on Joan Littlewoods play of the same name, Oh! What a Lovely War 1969; and Spielbergs war drama War Horse 2011 based on Michael Morpurgos childrens novel of the same name.


2.4. History Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War has attracted directors from different countries. Sam Woods For Whom the Bell Tolls 1943, based on Ernest Hemingways book of the same name, portrays the fated romance between an American played by Gary Cooper and a partisan played by Ingrid Bergman against the backdrop of the civil war. The epic 168 minute film with its landscapes shot in Technicolor and a "beautiful" orchestral score was a success both with audiences and with critics. Alain Resnaiss Guernica 1950 uses Picassos painting to protest against war. Carlos Sauras La Caza The Hunt, 1966 uses the metaphor of hunting to criticise the aggressiveness of Spanish fascism. It won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 16th Berlin International Film Festival in 1966. Ken Loachs Land and Freedom Tierra y Libertad, 1995, loosely based on George Orwells Homage to Catalonia, follows a British communist through the war to reveal the painful contradictions within the anti-fascist Republican side.


2.5. History Korean War

Samuel Fuller’s The Steel Helmet 1951 was made during the Korean War 1950–1953. The critic Guy Westwell notes that it questioned the conduct of the war, as did later films like The Bridges at Toko-Ri 1954 and Pork Chop Hill 1959. Fuller agreed that all his films were anti-war. No Hollywood films about the Korean War did well at the box office; the historian Lary May suggested in 2001 that they reminded American viewers of "the only war we have lost".

In 1955, after the fighting, the successful South Korean action film Piagol about leftist guerrilla atrocities encouraged other film-makers. The 1960s military government punished pro-communist film-makers and gave Grand Bell Awards to films with the strongest anti-communist message. Censorship loosened in the 1980s. The Taebaek Mountains 1994 dealt with leftists from the south who fought for the communists, while Silver Stallion 1991 and Spring in My Hometown 1998 showed the destructive impact of American military presence on village life. The violent action films Shiri 1999 and Joint Security Area 2000 presented North Korea in a favourable light.

Films in North Korea were made by government film studios and had clear political messages. The first was My Home Village 1949, on the liberation of Korea from the Japanese, presented as the work of Kim Il Sung without help from the Americans. Similarly, the countrys films about the Korean War show victory without help from the Chinese. The film scholar Johannes Schonherr concludes that the purpose of these films is "to portray North Korea as a country under siege", and that since the U.S. and its "puppet" South Korea invaded the North once, they would do so again.


2.6. History Algerian War

Gillo Pontecorvos dramatic The Battle of Algiers Italian: La battaglia di Algeri ; Arabic: معركة الجزائر ‎; French: La Bataille dAlger, 1966) portrayed events in the Algerian War 1954–1956. It was shot on location as an Italo-Algerian co-production. It had the black and white newsreel style of Italian neorealism, and even-handedly depicts violence on both sides. It won various awards including Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. It was attacked by French critics and was for five years banned in France.


2.7. History Vietnam War

Few films before the late 1970s about the Vietnam War actually depicted combat; exceptions include The Green Berets 1968. Critics such as Basinger explain that Hollywood avoided the subject because of opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, making the subject divisive; in addition, the film industry was in crisis, and the army did not wish to assist in making anti-war films.

From the late 1970s, independently financed and produced films showed Hollywood that Vietnam could be treated in film. Successful but very different portrayals of the war in which America had been defeated included Michael Ciminos The Deer Hunter 1978, and Francis Ford Coppolas Apocalypse Now 1979. With the shift in American politics to the right in the 1980s, military success could again be shown in films such as Oliver Stones Platoon 1986, Stanley Kubricks Full Metal Jacket 1987 and John Irvins Hamburger Hill 1987.

The Vietnamese director Nguyễn Hồng Sếns The Abandoned Field: Free Fire Zone Canh dồng hoang, 1979 gives an "unnerving and compelling. subjective-camera-eye-view" of life under helicopter fire in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. The film cuts to an American "helicopter-eye view", contrasting painfully with the human tenderness seen earlier.


2.8. History Bosnian War

Dino Mustafics Remake 2003, written by Zlatko Topcic, tells the parallel coming-of-age stories of a father living in Sarajevo during World War II and his son living through the Siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. According to Topcic, the story is based on incidents from his own life.


2.9. History Iraq War

The Iraq War served as the background story of several U.S. movies, like In the Valley of Elah from 2007, Hurt Locker from 2008, Lone Survivor from 2013, American Sniper and Boys of Abu Ghraib from 2014, Green Zone from 2015, and Last Flag Flying, Thank You for Your Service, Sand Castle from 2017.


2.10. History Afghanistan War

The War in Afghanistan since 2001 was depicted in various movies, among them Osama from 2003, Lion for Lambs and Charlie Wilsons War from 2007, Afghan Luke and Hell and Back Again from 2011, The Patrol from 2013, Good Kill from 2014, War Dogs from 2016, War Machine from 2017 and 12 Strong from 2018.


3.1. Second World War Made by Western Allies

The first popular Allied war films made during the Second World War came from Britain and combined the functions of documentary and propaganda. Films such as The Lion Has Wings and Target for Tonight were made under the control of the Films Division of the Ministry of Information. The British film industry began to combine documentary techniques with fictional stories in films like Noel Coward and David Leans In Which We Serve 1942 – "the most successful British film of the war years", Millions Like Us 1943, and The Way Ahead 1944.

In America, documentaries were produced in various ways: General Marshall commissioned the Why We Fight propaganda series from Frank Capra; the War Departments Information-Education Division started out making training films for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy; the Army made its own through the U.S. Signal Corps, including John Hustons The Battle of San Pietro. Hollywood made films with propaganda messages about Americas allies, such as Mrs. Miniver 1942, which portrayed a British family on the home front; Edge of Darkness 1943 showed Norwegian resistance fighters, and The North Star 1943 showed the Soviet Union and its Communist Party. Towards the end of the war popular books provided higher quality and more serious stories for films such as Guadalcanal Diary 1943, Mervyn LeRoys Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo 1944, and John Fords They Were Expendable 1945.

The Russians, too, appreciated the propaganda value of film, to publicise both victories and German atrocities. Ilya Kopalins documentary Moscow Strikes Back Russian: Разгром немецких войск под Москвой, literally "The rout of the German troops near Moscow", was made during the Battle of Moscow between October 1941 and January 1942. It depicted civilians helping to defend the city, the parade in Red Square and Stalins speech rousing the Russian people to battle, actual fighting, Germans surrendering and dead, and atrocities including murdered children and hanged civilians. It won an Academy Award in 1943 for best documentary. Newsreel cameras were similarly rushed to Stalingrad early in 1943 to record "the spectacle which greeted the Russian soldiers" – the starvation of Russian prisoners of war in the Voropovono camp by the German Sixth Army, defeated in the Battle of Stalingrad.

Feature films made in the west during the war were subject to censorship and were not always realistic in nature. One of the first to attempt to represent violence, and which was praised at the time for "gritty realism", was Tay Garnetts Bataan 1943. The depiction actually remained stylised. Jeanine Basinger gives as an example the "worst image for stark violence" when a Japanese soldier beheads an American: the victim shows pain and his lips freeze in a scream, yet no blood spurts and his head does not fall off. Basinger points out that while this is physically unrealistic, psychologically it may not have been. The wartime audience was, she points out, well aware of friends and relatives who had been killed or who had come home wounded.


3.2. Second World War Made by Axis powers

The Axis powers similarly made films during the Second World War, for propaganda and other purposes. In Germany, the army high command brought out Sieg im Westen "Victory in the West", 1941. Other Nazi propaganda films had varied subjects, as with Kolberg 1945, which depicts stubborn Prussian resistance in the Siege of Kolberg 1807 to the invading French troops under Napoleon. The propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels chose the historical subject as suitable for the worsening situation facing Nazi Germany when it was filmed from October 1943 to August 1944. At over eight million marks, using thousands of soldiers as extras and 100 railway wagonloads of salt to simulate snow, it was the most costly German film made during the war. The actual siege ended with the surrender of the town; in the film, the French generals abandon the siege.

For Japan, the war began with the undeclared war and invasion of China in 1937, which the Japanese authorities called "The China Incident". The government dispatched a "pen brigade" to write and film the action in China with "humanist values". Tomotaka Tasakas Mud and Soldiers 1939 for instance, shot on location in China, Kōzaburō Yoshimuras Legend of Tank Commander Nishizumi, and Sato Takeshis Chocolate and Soldiers 1938 show the common Japanese soldier as an individual and as a family man, and even enemy Chinese soldiers are presented as individuals, sometimes fighting bravely. Once war with the United States was declared, the Japanese conflict became known as the Pacific War. Japanese film critics worried that even with Western film techniques, their film output failed to represent native Japanese values. The historian John Dower found that Japanese wartime films had been largely forgotten, as "losers do not get reruns", yet they were so subtle and skilful that Frank Capra thought Chocolate and Soldiers unbeatable. Heroes were typically low-ranking officers, not samurai, calmly devoted to his men and his country. These films did not personalise the enemy and therefore lacked hatred, though Great Britain could figure as the "cultural enemy". For Japanese film-makers, war was not a cause but more like a natural disaster, and "what mattered was not whom one fought but how well". Asian enemies, especially the Chinese, were often portrayed as redeemable and even possible marriage partners. Japanese wartime films do not glorify war, but present the Japanese state as one great family and the Japanese people as an "innocent, suffering, self-sacrificing people". Dower comments that the perversity of this image "is obvious: it is devoid of any recognition that, at every level, the Japanese also victimized others."


3.3. Second World War Postwar

According to Andrew Pulver of The Guardian, the public fascination with war films became an "obsession", with over 200 war films produced in each decade of the 1950s and 1960s. War film production in the United Kingdom and United States reached its zenith in the mid 1950s. Its popularity in the United Kingdom was brought on by the critical and commercial success of Charles Frends The Cruel Sea 1953. Like others of the period, The Cruel Sea was based on a bestselling novel, in this case the former naval commander Nicholas Monsarrats story of the battle of the Atlantic. Others, like The Dam Busters 1954, with its exciting tale of the inventor Barnes Walliss unorthodox bouncing bomb and its distinctive theme music, were true stories. The Dam Busters became the most popular film in Britain in 1955, and remained a favourite as of 2015 with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, though, partly because it celebrated an "exclusively British ", it failed to break into the American market. A large number of war films were made in the 1955–58 period in particular. In 1957 alone, Bitter Victory, Count Five and Die, The Enemy Below, Ill Met by Moonlight, Men in War, The One That Got Away and Seven Thunders, and the highly successful, critically acclaimed pictures The Bridge on the River Kwai, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year, and Paths of Glory were released. Some, such as Bitter Victory, focused more on the psychological battle between officers and egotism rather than events during the war. The Bridge on the River Kwai brought a new complexity to the war picture, with a sense of moral uncertainty surrounding war. By the end of the decade the "sense of shared achievement" which had been common in war films "began to evaporate", according to Pulver.

Hollywood films in the 1950s and 1960s could display spectacular heroics or self-sacrifice, as in the popular Sands of Iwo Jima 1949 starring John Wayne. U.S. Marines considered Sands of Iwo Jima visually authentic, but found Lewis Milestones Battle Cry 1955, with its attention to the lives of the men, the more realistic film. The formula for a successful war film consisted, according to Lawrence Suid, of a small group of ethnically diverse men; an unreasonable senior officer; cowards became heroic, or died. Jeanine Basinger suggests that a traditional war film should have a hero, a group, and an objective, and that the group should contain "an Italian, a Jew, a cynical complainer from Brooklyn, a sharpshooter from the mountains, a midwesterner nicknamed by his state, "Iowa" or "Dakota", and a character who must be initiated in some way". Films based on real commando missions, like The Gift Horse 1952 based on the St. Nazaire Raid, and Ill Met by Moonlight 1956 based on the capture of the German commander of Crete, inspired fictional adventure films such as The Guns of Navarone 1961, The Train 1964 and Where Eagles Dare 1968. These used the war as a backdrop for spectacular action.

Darryl F. Zanuck produced the 178 minute documentary drama The Longest Day 1962, based on the first day of the D-Day landings, achieving commercial success and Oscars. It was followed by large-scale but thoughtful films like Andrei Tarkovskys Ivans Childhood 1962, and quasi-documentary all-star epics filmed in Europe such as Battle of the Bulge 1965, Battle of Britain 1969, The Battle of Neretva 1969, Midway 1976 and A Bridge Too Far 1977. In Lawrence Suids view, The Longest Day "served as the model for all subsequent combat spectaculars". However, its cost also made it the last of the traditional war films, while the controversy around the help given by the U.S. Army and Zanucks "disregard for Pentagon relations" changed the way that Hollywood and the Army collaborated.

Zanuck, by then an executive at 20th Century Fox, set up an American-Japanese co-production for Richard Fleischers Tora! Tora! Tora! 1970 to depict what "really happened on December 7, 1941" in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The film, panned by Roger Ebert and The New York Times, was a major success in Japan. Its realistic-looking attack footage was reused in later films such as Midway 1976, The Final Countdown 1980, and Australia 2008. The story was revisited in Pearl Harbor 2001, described by The New York Times as a "noisy, expensive and very long new blockbuster", with the comment that "for all its epic pretensions as if epic were a matter of running time, tumescent music and earnest voice-over pronouncements, the movie works best as a bang-and-boom action picture".

Steven Spielbergs Saving Private Ryan 1998 uses hand-held camera, sound design, staging and increased audio-visual detail to defamiliarise viewers accustomed to conventional combat films, so as to create what film historian Stuart Bender calls "reported realism", whether or not the portrayal is genuinely more realistic. Jeanine Basinger notes that critics experienced it as "groundbreaking and anti-generic", with, in James Wolcotts words, a "desire to bury the cornball, recruiting poster legend of John Wayne: to get it right this time"; and that combat films have always been "grounded in the need to help an audience understand and accept war". Its success revived interest in World War II films. Others tried to portray the reality of the war, as in Joseph Vilsmaiers Stalingrad 1993, which The New York Times said "goes about as far as a movie can go in depicting modern warfare as a stomach-turning form of mass slaughter."


3.4. Second World War Military–film industry relations

Many war films have been produced with the cooperation of a nations military forces. Since the Second World War, the United States Navy has provided ships and technical guidance for films such as Top Gun. The U.S. Air Force assisted with The Big Lift, Strategic Air Command and A Gathering of Eagles, which were filmed on Air Force bases; Air Force personnel appeared in many roles. Critics have argued that the film Pearl Harbor s US-biased portrayal of events is a compensation for technical assistance received from the US armed forces, noting that the premiere was held on board a U.S. Navy carrier. In another case, the U.S. Navy objected to elements of Crimson Tide, especially mutiny on board an American naval vessel, so the film was produced without their assistance. The film historian Jonathan Rayner observes that such films "have also clearly been intended to serve vital propagandist, recruitment and public relations functions".


4.1. National traditions Chinese

The first Chinese war films were newsreels like Battle of Wuhan 1911 and Battle of Shanghai 1913. Still in films such as Xu Xinfus Battle Exploits 1925, war featured mainly as background. Only with the Second Sino–Japanese War from 1937 onwards did war film become a serious genre in China, with nationalistic films such as Shi Dongshans Protect Our Land 1938 The Chinese Civil War, too, attracted films such as Cheng Yins From Victory to Victory 1952. A more humanistic film set in the same period is Xie Jins The Cradle 1979, while more recent large-scale commercial films include Lu Chuans City of Life and Death 2009. Chinese directors have repeatedly attempted to cover the atrocities committed by the Japanese during the Nanking massacre 1937–1938, with films such as the political melodrama Massacre in Nanjing, Mou Tun Feis docudrama Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre, and the "contrived Sino–Japanese romance" Dont Cry, Nanking. Zhang Yimous epic Chinese film Flowers of War 2011, based on Geling Yans novel, portrays the violent events through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl.


4.2. National traditions Indonesian

Many Indonesian films deal with the occupation of the archipelago by the Japanese during the Second World War. Teguh Karyas Doea Tanda Mata covers the limited nationalist resistance to Dutch colonial rule in the 1930s. A third group of films such as Enam Djam di Jogja Six Hours in Yogyakarta, 1951 and Serangan Fajar Attack at Dawn, 1983 covers the Indonesian war of independence 1945–1949. Two other films about the same period portray the Indonesian equivalent of the Chinese Long March: Usmar Ismails Darah dan Doa and Mereka Kembali They Return, 1975. Each of these films interprets the past from the perspective of its own time.

The more recent Merdeka Freedom trilogy 2009–2011, starting with Merah Putih "Red and White", the colours of the flag of the new Indonesia, revisits the campaign for independence through the lives of a diverse group of cadets who become guerillas.

Karyas November 1828 1979 looks at Indonesias struggle for independence through historical drama about the Java or Diponegoro War 1825–1830, though the colonial enemy was the same, the Dutch. Deanne Schultz considered it "a valuable interpretation" of Indonesian history that "embodies the best of popular Indonesian cinema." It was the first Indonesian film to become well known internationally.


4.3. National traditions Russian

War has been Russian cinemas major genre, becoming known indeed as the "cinema front", and its war films ranged from grim portrayals of atrocities to sentimental and even quietly subversive accounts. Leonid Lukovs popular and "beautiful" Two Warriors 1943 depicted two stereotypical Soviet soldiers, a quiet Russian and an extrovert southerner from Odessa, singing in his dugout.

The many Russian films about the Second World War include both large-scale epics such as Yury Ozerovs Battle of Moscow 1985 and Mikhail Kalatozovs more psychological The Cranes are Flying 1957 on the cruel effects of war; it won the 1958 Palme dOr at Cannes.


4.4. National traditions Japanese

Japanese directors have made popular films such as Submarine I-57 Will Not Surrender 1959, Battle of Okinawa 1971 and Japans Longest Day 1967 from a Japanese perspective. These "generally fail to explain the cause of the war". In the decades immediately after the Second World War, Japanese films often focused on human tragedy rather than combat, such as The Burmese Harp 1956, Fires on the Plain, 1959. From the late 1990s, films started to take a positive view of the war and of Japanese actions. These nationalistic films, including Pride 1998, Merdeka 17805 2001, and The Truth about Nanjing 2007, have emphasized positive traits of the Japanese military and contended that the Japanese were victims of post-war vindictiveness and viciousness. Such films have, however, drawn protest for revisionism. The Eternal Zero 2013 narrates the tale of a Zero fighter pilot who is considered a coward by his comrades, as he returns alive from his missions. It broke the record takings for a Japanese live action film, and won the Golden Mulberry at the Udine Far East Film Festival, but was criticised for its nationalistic sympathy with kamikaze pilots.


5.1. Subgenres Documentary

The wartime authorities in both Britain and America produced a wide variety of documentary films. Their purposes included military training, advice to civilians, and encouragement to maintain security. Since these films often carried messages, they grade into propaganda. Similarly, commercially produced films often combined information, support for the war effort, and a degree of propaganda. Newsreels, ostensibly simply for information, were made in both Allied and Axis countries, and were often dramatised. More recently, in the Iran–Iraq War, Morteza Avinis Ravayat-e Fath Chronicles of Victory television series combined front-line footage with commentary.


5.2. Subgenres Propaganda

Sergei Eisensteins 1938 historical drama Alexander Nevsky depicts Prince Alexanders defeat of the attempted invasion of the Russian city of Novgorod by the Teutonic Knights. By April 1939 the film had been seen by 23.000.000 people. In 1941 the director and three others were awarded the Stalin Prize for their contributions. The film features a musical score by the classical composer Sergei Prokofiev, considered by artists such as the composer Andre Previn the best ever written for cinema. Russell Merritt, writing in Film Quarterly, describes it as a "war propaganda film". A 1978 Mondadori poll placed Alexander Nevsky among the worlds 100 best motion pictures.

During the Second World War, film propaganda was widely used. Kenneth Clark advised the British government that "If we renounced interest in entertainment as such, we might be deprived of a valuable weapon for getting across our propaganda"; he suggested using documentaries about the war and the war effort; celebrations of Britishness; and films about British life and character. Michael Powell and Clark agreed on a story about survivors of a U-boat crew, imbued with brutal Nazi ideology, travelling across Canada and meeting various kind, tolerant and intelligent Canadians, to encourage America into the war. The resulting film, 49th Parallel 1941, became the top film at British offices that year. Entertaining films could carry messages about the need for vigilance, too, as in Went the Day Well? 1942 or the avoidance of "careless talk", as in The Next of Kin 1942.

In America, Charlie Chaplins The Great Dictator 1940 clearly satirised fascism. Michael Curtizs Casablanca 1943 was not simply a romance between the characters played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, but vilified the Nazis and glorified resistance to them. Frank Capras Why We Fight series 1942–1945 won the 1942 Academy Award for best documentary, though it was designed to "influence opinion in the U.S. military".

During the Cold War, "propaganda played as much of a role in the United States struggle with the Soviet Union as did the billions of dollars spent on weaponry." Face to Face with Communism 1951 dramatised an imagined invasion of the United States; other films portrayed threats such as communist indoctrination.


5.3. Subgenres Submarine

Submarine films have their own particular meanings and conventions, concerned specifically with giving the effect of submarine warfare. A distinctive element in this subgenre is the soundtrack, which attempts to bring home the emotional and dramatic nature of conflict under the sea. For example, in Wolfgang Petersens 1981 Das Boot, the sound design works together with the hours-long film format to depict lengthy pursuit with depth charges, the ping of sonar, and threatening sounds such as of the propellors of enemy destroyers and torpedoes. Classic films in the genre include The Enemy Below 1957 and Run Silent, Run Deep 1958, both based on novels by naval commanders. Run Silent, Run Deep is a movie full of tension, both with the enemy and between the contrasting personalities of the submarine Commander and his Lieutenant, played by Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.


5.4. Subgenres Prisoner of war

A popular subgenre of war films in the 1950s and 1960s was the prisoner of war film. The genre was popularised in Britain with major films like Guy Hamiltons The Colditz Story 1955 and John Sturgess The Great Escape 1963. They told stories of real escapes from German prisoner of war camps such as Stalag Luft III in the Second World War. Despite episodes of danger and human tragedy, these films delight in a continual boyish game of escape and ingenuity, celebrating the courage and the defiant spirit of the prisoners of war, and treating war as fun. David Leans Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 was judged best picture at the Oscars; it took the genre from chilly German prisons to the heat of a camp in Thailand. It was the first, too, to use lush colour to bring out the British stiff upper lip of the colonel, played by Alec Guinness in an Oscar-winning performance. The "definitive" Oscar-winning prisoner of war film was Billy Wilders Stalag 17 1953, while the brief but powerful prison camp scenes of The Deer Hunter 1977 lend an air of tragedy to the whole of that film.


5.5. Subgenres Comedy

Charlie Chaplins Shoulder Arms 1918 set a style for war films to come, and was the first comedy about war in film history. British cinema in the Second World War marked the evacuation of children from London with social comedies such as Those Kids from Town 1942 where the evacuees go to stay with an earl a country nobleman, while in Cottage to Let 1941 and Went the Day Well? 1942 the English countryside is thick with spies. Gasbags 1941 offered "zany, irreverent, knockabout" comedy making fun of everything from barrage balloons to concentration camps. Abbott and Costellos Buck Privates 1941 was successful in America, leading to many further wartime comedies.


5.6. Subgenres Animated

Winsor McCays The Sinking of the Lusitania 1918 was a silent First World War film. At 12 minutes long, it was the longest animated film made at that time. It was probably the first animated propaganda film to be made; it remains the earliest serious animated drama that has survived. Through World War II, animated propaganda shorts remained influential in American cinema. The Walt Disney Company, working with the American armed forces, produced 400.000 feet of war propaganda films between 1942 and 1945, including Der Fuehrers Face 1943 and Education for Death 1943.

Japanese anime films from the 1960s onwards addressed national memories of war. Akira 1988 moves from the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to apocalyptic visions of global conflict; Grave of the Fireflies 1988 is elegiac on the effect of war on children. Barefoot Gen 1983 portrays the bombing of Hiroshima through the eyes of a child, but reviewers consider it a less well made film than Grave of the Fireflies with "stomach-churning detail" bizarrely paired with crude artwork, giving it the look of a "Saturday morning Warner Brothers cartoon".


5.7. Subgenres Anti-war

The anti-war genre began with films about the First World War. Films in the genre are typically revisionist, reflecting on past events and often generically blended. Lewis Milestones All Quiet on the Western Front 1930 was unquestionably powerful, and an early anti-war film, portraying a German point of view; it was the first film in any genre to win two Oscars, best picture and best director. Andrew Kelly, analysing All Quiet on the Western Front, defined the genre as showing: the brutality of war; the amount of human suffering; the betrayal of mens trust by incompetent officers. War and anti-war films often prove difficult to categorize as they contain many generic ambiguities. While many anti-war films criticize war directly through depictions of grisly combat in past wars, some films such as Penns Alices Restaurant criticized war obliquely by poking fun at such things as the draft board. The number of anti-war films produced in America dipped sharply during the 1950s because of McCarthyism and the Hollywood blacklist. The end of the blacklist and the introduction of the MPAA rating system marked a time of resurgence for films of all type including anti-war films in the States. Robert Eberwein names two films as anti-war classics: Jean Renoirs prisoner of war masterpiece La Grande Illusion The Grand Illusion, 1937, and Stanley Kubricks Paths of Glory 1957. The critic David Ehrenstein notes that Paths of Glory established Kubrick as the "leading commercial filmmaker of his generation" and a world-class talent. Ehrenstein describes the film as an "outwardly cool/inwardly passionate protest drama about a disastrous French army maneuver and the court-martial held in its wake", contrasting it with the "classic" All Quiet on the Western Front s story of an innocent "unstrung by the horrors of war".


5.8. Subgenres Mixed genres

Comedy gave scope for satire, and post-war film-makers merged comedy and anti-war sentiment in films as varied as Stalag 17 1953 and Dr Strangelove 1964. Black comedies like Mike Nicholss Catch-22 1970, based on Joseph Hellers satirical novel about the Second World War, and Robert Altmans MASH 1970, set in Korea, reflected the attitudes of an increasingly sceptical public during the Vietnam War.

Other genres were combined in Franklin J. Schaffners Patton 1970, about real life General George S. Patton, where combat scenes were interleaved with commentary about how he waged war, showing good and bad sides to a command. It and MASH became the two most profitable war/anti-war films made up to that time; and Patton won seven Academy Awards.

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