War

Roger Spottiswoode – The Children of Huang Shi (2008)

Quote:
Like an eager frequent flyer, Western paternalism changes destinations but not its baggage. The Children of Huang Shi takes the good intentions and terrible methods of The Constant Gardener and Blood Diamond and takes them to China, where another traumatizing upheaval is whittled down to window-dressing for the personal romance and redemption of a couple of chalky-white stars. Business as usual for Roger Spottiswoode, who in the 1983 thriller Under Fire envisioned the Nicaraguan revolution as mere scrim on which a hotshot American reporter could get his shit together. The adventure-seeking outsider this time around is real-life British journalist George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who arrives in late-1930s China as invading Japanese forces plow the land, slaughtering everyone in their way. Read More »

Stefan Ruzowitzky – Die Fälscher AKA The Counterfeiters [+commentary] (2007)

Quote:
The moral conundrum at the heart of Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky’s “The Counterfeiters” is worthy of Kafka or Dostoevsky: What is the value of a single human life in the face of unspeakable evil? During World War II, one of Europe’s greatest counterfeiters decides, for a while, that his own survival is more important, until inevitably he learns that surrendering one’s soul and humanity may be worse than losing your life altogether. Read More »

Unknown – Aseveljeyden sankarit aka Brotherhood of Arms (1943)

German-Finnish coproduction documentary which has not been published before 1999. Film is an accurate description of the Finnish Waffen-SS volunteers from 1941 to 1943. Recruited in spring 1941, trained in Germany and all the way to the Caucasus. Narrated by a young TK man, front radio commentator Veikko Itkonen (1919-1990). Read More »

Kazuo Kuroki – Kamiya Etsuko no seishun aka The Youth of Kamiya Etsuko (2006)

“Very sweet, wryly funny in spots, but always haunted by war (described sparingly but never shown). It was based on a stage play and betrays its theatrical roots in some of the pacing and staging. It’s slow, perhaps too slow for action film fans, but it’s not boring. Rather, it’s delicate and precise like tea ceremony. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Kagemusha [+Extras] (1980)

Just as many American studio-era directors found acclaim abroad that was denied them in their home country, by 1980 Akira Kurosawa’s reputation outside Japan exceeded his esteem at home. As uncompromising as ever, he found considerable difficulty securing backing for his ambitious projects. Unsure he would be able to film it, the director, an aspiring artist before he entered filmmaking, converted Kagemusha into a series of paintings, and it was partly on the basis of these that he won the financial support of longtime admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Set in the 16th century, when powerful warlords competed for control of Japan, it offers an examination of the nature of political power and the slipperiness of identity. Read More »

Peter Watkins – The Media Project (1991)

About:
THE MEDIA PROJECT is an exposé on media coverage of the first Gulf War, directed by Peter Watkins. The film raises debate on the global media coverage of the Gulf War by taking examples from the Australian media coverage of the event and having them discussed by a small group of people from different backgrounds who are having dinner together. Written by Peter Watkins in conjunction with the cast, many of whom are expressing their own feelings and concerns. Read More »

Anatole Litvak – L’Équipage aka Flight into darkness (1935)

Filmmaker Anatole Litvak was still one year away from his “breakthrough” picture Mayerling when he co-wrote and directed L’Equipage (The Crew). Charles Vanel and Annabella star respectively as a daring WW I aviator and his loving but neglected wife. Ostracized by the other pilots because of his recklessness and standoffishness, Vanel nonetheless befriends a young flyboy (Jean-Pierre Aumont). It is therefore a great source of consternation for Aumont when he discovers that the woman with whom he’s fallen in love is none other than Vanel’s wife Annabella. Read More »