World War One

Boris Barnet – Okraina aka Outskirts (1933)

Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote:
The first sound film by Boris Barnet, one of the least seen and appreciated masters of the Russian cinema, this 1933 feature follows the impact of World War I on a village. Barnet takes nothing for granted, using sound as no one else had before or since and in the process reinventing the way we experience silence as well as sound. His view of war is expressed in uncanny emotional registers: scenes that begin tragically end comically and vice versa, and one of the more touching story lines involves a woman who falls in love with a German prisoner. Adapted by Barnet and Konstantin Finn from Finn’s novel, this is strong and indelible. Read More »

Sergiu Nicolaescu – Capcana mercenarilor AKA The Mercenaries’ Trap (1981)

The movie is based on a true story from the end of WWI, in Transylvania. A nobleman who owned some land in Transylvania returns home to find a part of his fortune burned to ashes during late 1918 when power was transferred from AustroHungary to Romania. Looking for revenge, he ordered the killing of innocent Romanian peasants from a neighboring village, which he suspected to be guilty for the losses he suffered. A Romanian officer from Romanian Transylvanian Volunteers Corp, decides to help the villagers to face the menace of the nobleman. Read More »

Maurice Pialat – La maison des bois (1971)

Quote:
Made in 1971 for French TV, the epic LA MAISON DES BOIS
comes from early in the Pialat’s belated
feature-filmmaking career. Rather like Loach’s DAYS OF
HOPE (Cinémathèque 2004) or Edgar Reisz’s HEIMAT
series, it begins in costume drama and an ethnographic
view of rural French life during World War One, and in
an apparently sentimental tale of war orphans. But
then it irises out from costume drama conventions into
the transcendental, exploring Pialat*s spiritual
themes, as well as the social dynamics, trauma and
collective experiences of war. Read More »

Gianfranco Mingozzi – L’iniziazione AKA Les exploits d’un jeune Don Juan (1986)

Roger is a 16-year-old who seeks to lose his virginity in this softcore erotic drama. His initial efforts are unsuccessful, but World War I breaks out and men are seen marching off to battle. Roger goes overboard when he is presented with several amorous opportunities. Read More »

Jean-Pierre Jeunet – Un long dimanche de fiançailles AKA A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Tells the story of a young woman’s relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One. Read More »

Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi – Su tutte le vette è pace (1998)

Quote:
Their Trilogia della guerra (War Trilogy) consists of Prigionieri della guerra (War prisoners), Su tutte le vette è pace (All’s Quiet on the Mountain Peaks), and Oh! Uomo (Oh! Man). The trilogy explores armed conflict from a variety of perspectives: from the relationship oppressor/oppressed and psychological warfare to the meticulous preparations undertaken by soldiers before battle, the plight of the wounded, and the realities of the battlefield. In their unusual and deeply individual method, Gianikian and Lucchi take old archival footage as the basis for their creations. They then set about reworking and transforming in ways that recontextualize and call our attention to the old film—marked, quite literally, by the passage of time—as a visual, historical document. Their work has been presented in many of the world’s most prestigious international festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, Paris and New York. Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Westfront 1918 (1930)

Plot synopsis
Westfront 1918 (aka Comrades of 1918) was the first talkie effort from German filmmaker G. W. Pabst, which he made for Nero Films, a production company headed up by Seymour Nebenzahl. Like the contemporary Hollywood production All Quiet on the Western Front, Pabst’s film is a bitter, melancholy antiwar statement. The story concentrates on four German soldiers, sent to the front in the waning days of World War 1. The futility of killing an enemy who is already dead spiritually, and of being killed for a cause that has for all intents and purposes been resolved, is brought home to the viewer with both barrels. The astonishingly fluid camerawork of Fritz Arno puts the spectator in the thick of the battle, and the effect is both terrifying and heartbreaking To watch only a few moments of Westfront 1918, one might think that Pabst had been making sound pictures all his life, rather than a mere couple of months. – by Hal Erickson. Read More »