Saturday, May 14, 2005

Paths of Glory and the Many Faces of War

Feature motion pictures, churned out by the hundreds each year, the behemoth studios, factories of distraction struggling to meet demand, a hunger never satisfied. Whistling and screaming at the stage for more, like an unruly bunch of military men packed into a crowded bar, we are often taken by surprise when the rare song of another reflects with precise honesty, something previously unseen in ourselves.

There was absolutely nothing on at the movies, nothing that really caught my attention at least, so after dinner, I parted with the others, who were seeing a Hollywood horror called Boogeyman... I went home to watch Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory for the first time, leaving me with only the few of his most early films still to see.

His unique style of shooting is immediately recognisable in the many tracking shots and the way he balances light and dark and although the acting and (lack of) accents were at times a little distracting, I thought it was a great film. I liked the contrast between the high-ranking officers in their enormous mansions and the soldiers in the dirty trenches, the way the officers are willing to trade so many lives for military medals and their own personal gain, the way brave men are tried as cowards, really shows the injustices of war.

What really got me though was the weeping girl - the only German shown in the film - forced to sing in front of the French soldiers. She made such an impression on Stanley that he married her.

Our latest acquisition from the enemy


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