War

CESSEZ-LE-FEU (2017)

CESSEZ-LE-FEU (2017)

A film by Emmanuel Courcol

Cast: Romain Duris, Mathilde Courcol-Rozès, Arnaud Dupont, Céline Sallette

English: Cease fire (translation of the title)

1923. George (Romain Duris) , a hero of the 1914 war fleeing his past, has for four years led a nomadic and adventurous life in Africa when he decides to return to France. He finds his mother and his brother Marcel, a war invalid walled up in silence. Unable to regain a place in this post-war period when life went on without him, he meets Helene (Céline Sallette)  a sign language teacher with whom he forges a tormented relationship …

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It is to pay tribute to his grandfather that Emmanuel Courcol, who is the first feature film and who is known mainly as co-screenwriter of the films of Philippe Lioret, had the desire to address this Historical period. 1914-1918 is the first “modern” war, infamous for the physical consequences it has left the soldiers. On the other hand, few specialists have studied the psychological consequences of this type of conflict, what is now known as “post-traumatic stress disorder” due to the impossibility of returning to civilian life. The opening scene Has this raw realism that is enough to account for this bloody horror. Then everything calms down. We are in 1923, five years after the end of the war. One discovers a Paris where people are moving on and forgetting the war. The money of the wealthy flows freely, the carelessness of this new society, has an insolent luxury of the hideous and above all the arrogance of the new generation that is spreading  out everywhere. For Georges, a wounded, ex-soldier  and lonely man who no longer finds his place in this world which he does not recognize, it is unbearable. So he goes to Africa, well for some reason I will not mention he see the film he goes back to France. Georges’ brother did not recover well from the war. There George meet this free-spirited independent  woman who is maybe going to be good for him or not. Emmanuel Courcol is showing us an elegant and sober look on a painful period of our history. He also paints a precise picture of a contrasting period, magnified by the illuminations of Tom Stern, who transports us from the trenches but in France and Africa as well. There are superb colourful costumes as well as a beautiful scenery of the countries. Very good for a first film, I will give you a warning some of you will not like this film. This film is about relationship and the soldier coming back home not knowing if they are going to be integrated  in society again.

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LAND OF MINE (2015)

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A film by Martin Zandvliet

Cast: Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman

Keep in mind that this film as just came in at the theatre in France. 1945. Denmark. End of the Second World War. Several German soldiers, barely out of their teens, were taken prisoner by the Danish army and sent to the front line to defuse the mines buried along the coast. For them, the war is far from over. Inspired by real events, {Land of mine} recounts this tragic episode of History.

The film open with a long line of ragged soldiers walked down the street. A Danish soldier knocked one of them to the ground, for the sole reason that he is German. The war has just ended, but the hatred of the danish soldier is still fresh.The victims of yesterday will become the executioners of today. Following the proposal of the British, the one that freed the Denmark from this hell  use young German prisoners of war to defuse the mines that are buried along the coast mine flouting the agreements of the Geneva Convention of 1929 which forbid to compel prisoners of war to carry out dangerous work.

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Opting for a refined style, the director avoids any heaviness of the war. He sets up his decor on an idyllic beach with white sand lit by a permanent sun that contrasts with the darkness of the subject. The camera focuses on the beauty and vulnerability of these young boys. You well see how scared they are  without hiding any details but also conveys the strength of their dreams and their struggle for survival. Little by little we are interested about those characters where they are from and what they will do when they come back home. The sergeant who is pissed about the german taking his country has no remorse for those kids that are from the age 15 to 18. It is as real as it gets It is based on real events here and the director has done a great job to film that. There is a real tension here that will rise until it blows up. Land of mine tells a human story that explores tactfully the beauty of the hidden face of humans.

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HACKSAW RIDGE (2016)

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A film by Mel Gibson

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Vince Vaughn

Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is a hard-hitting drama about faith, conviction and conflict. And why is that surprise me. It seems to me that Mel has this passion for religion and faith. After a while he was trying to get rid of his demons I won’t go in the details. It has been 10 years since Gibson directed Apocalypto (2006) and this Australian co-production (shot in Australia) is a  reminder of his strong vision and directing skills.The heart of the film is about morality.

It is the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a WWII Army Medic who refuses to carry a gun because killing is against his beliefs; he wants to save lives, not take them. Strongly influence by his dramatic childhood when his self loathing drunk father (Hugo Weaving) would beat up on his mother (Rachel Griffith) and became obvious that killing for the worst sin on earth. First his mother and father is trying to protect him not to enlist for the war obviously he did not work for his brother who enlisted and soon after Desmond who falls in love with a nurse enlist as well against his mother and father wishes.

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What better way to make a film from a director who is religious himself who also questioned his own religion plus Gibson has this great vision for the film and that makes it a different kind of war film. The beginning of the film is charming and you see how it was when a man court a woman with the romance that is going to follow. Soon after that the battle starts on the battlefield where bodies are piling up shooting and merciless Japanese getting to be killing machines.Vince Vaughn is awesome  as the bullying drill sergeant and  Sam Worthington is perfect as the battalion leader. The action is merciless, bloody, violent when to think a soldier without a gun went as a medic to save 75 wounded soldiers in extreme condition well my hat goes to him to top it all off he is the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Look out for footage of the real Desmond Doss at the end of the film.

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MACHINE GUN PREACHER (2011)

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A film by Marc Forster

Cast: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon

Sam Childers (born 1963) is a former biker member who now dedicates his life and resources to rescue children in the war zone of South Sudan.

In Africa, a warlord named Joseph Kony runs the so  called  Lord’s Resistance Army that has murdered hundreds of thousands, burned villages, and kidnapped some 50,000 children, forcing the boys to become soldiers and making the girls sex slaves.

Childers (Gerard Butler) who is just got out of prison is going back to his old ways  raising hell with his buddy Donnie ( Michael Shannon)  drinking, drugs, raising hell, and making it hard on his wife and kids. While he was in prison , Lynn found God. One Sunday morning, after a bloody night of hell raising , Sam allows himself to be dragged along to a church service, where he confesses himself to be a sinner and then undergoes a baptism of full immersion. Later he ends up building a church where every one is welcome, which is going to bring us one night where he saw the news on Sudan and decided to build a church in Africa to save as many  children as they can. He raised money for Africa orphanage that he build to try to save as many children as he could. Butler incarnated beautifully well Childers as well as Monaghan who embodied Childers wife but the thing is that Childers fights back is raising a different kind of hell, yes he changes his ways but the anger that he had is targeted on the lord’s resistance army. A story that I did not know happened back in the  90’s still to this day Childers spent his time in his church and his orphanage in Africa.

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L’HOMME QUI MENT (1968)

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Un film by Alain Robbe-Grillet

Cast: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Sylvie Bréal, Zuzana Kocúriková

English: Man who lies 

A man named Boris (Jean-Louis Trintignant, whom we have already seen shot to death in the credit sequence, set during World War II) returns to the village where he says he fought in the Underground nobody remembers him. Is he telling the truth he might have fought underground? or might be in this village? Jean might have or have not been betrayed or might or might no live in exile.

To this end, he checks into the unfriendly local inn and makes contact with the castle, Jean’s home, where  he lives with his father, an old servant, and three beautiful women (Jean’s wife, his sister, and the maid) living in deep sensuous seclusion. He seduces the maid, and tells endless different versions of his story. Robbe-Grillet has always done his own film not like everybody else. He has a different view of every day life and some good imagination. Jean here dies several time in the film he always miraculously escape.The young women, with their passive pretty faces,  their alluring glances, so pointedly indicate eroticism as almost never to be erotic.It is  an unusual film here not for everyone. It is a nice piece of art film I must say.

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A WAR (2015)

 

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A  film by Tobias Lindholm

Cast: Pilou Asbæk, Dar Salim, Tuva Novotny

Claus (Pilou Asbaek) commands a company of soldiers in Afghanistan, pushing back against the Taliban but with a frustrating mandate to minimize involvement with the locals, even if they ask for help. And often, even protecting his own men proves impossible, when a single misstep can set off an IED and turn a routine patrol into a medical emergency. Under fire a solider is under a lot of stress and has to make slip decision to try to protect his man so they can come back to the camp save and sound. But when he is stunned to be second guess.

Here is a terrific film by the talented Tobias Lindholm who is back with another emotionally tense exploration of ordinary men under extraordinary pressure in A War (Krigen), Denmark’s official Oscars has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film . This is a war movie for how we have redefined war in the 21st century, about the afghan war and the Taliban who keep invading village which are  a threat to the people who leaves there. Claus and his man who are tough soldiers are under fire and has to make decisions that will affect their lives later. Lindholm shows here the difficult decision that has to be man under stress, he also shows the moral dilemmas they must resolve not only  on the battlefield but also at home. There are 3 part to this film Claus in afghan, claus back with his family, and Claus who is recalled to Denmark to face a military inquiry into his actions which he has to deal with his family. A war is a smart film about about Claus’s quandary, the problems that he is facing and the interaction with his family. Technically a different war film that is just came in movie theater in France.

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AMEN (2002)

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A film by Costa-Gavras

Cast: Ulrich Tukur, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ulrich Mühe

During WWII SS officer Kurt Gerstein tries to inform Pope Pius XII about Jews being sent to extermination camps.Young Jesuit priest Riccardo Fontana (Mathiew Kassovitz)  helps him out to get this information to the world but it is not that simple and obstacle will be on their way.

Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur)  is horrified when he discovers the lethal application of his invention, which he had thought was intended to purify drinking water for German troops at the front. He tries to inform the world about the unfolding genocide and also to slow it down by whatever bureacratic and technical means he can. He finds himself in two situations: He continues to participate in it, and because of that his testimony is ignored and mistrusted and they want more proof before they do something about it. Gerstein’s name was cleared in 1965. It is an uncomfortable situation that he finds himself into. The only one who believed him was Riccardo Fontana who is trying to convince the pope and others but takes upon himself to do something drastic in order to convince them. Amen which was loosely adapted from “The Deputy,” Rolf Hochhuth’s groundbreaking and controversial 1963 play which has some fascinating themes. The frustration that they had in order to convince them was the topic of the film and it is going to to  get you. Plus the scene where he is looking through the peep hole is very powerful but as well as terrifying Here is a part of history that I didn’t know. This film has won a caesar at cannes, a golden globe, and an award in Germany the Bear for best picture.

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