Iron Fist – Dragon Plays With Fire (Review) - Crossed out.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Yesterday in honor of veteran's day (which is in fact today, though it should be everyday) a good blogging buddy of mine, MadHatter wrote up a post on his blog detailing his all time favorite war films. While I did my usual comment throwing up my personal war films (based on how they order in my top 100) I got to reading some of the other comments and selections people had made. A lot of basics, your sort of essentials were present, but a particular comment by DangerGirl caught my attention: "For me Platoon would need to be on the list and Hope and Glory and Empire of the Sun would need to be slipped in there somewhere as well."
This post intrigued me as prior to that I would have never even considered Hope and Glory or Empire of the Sun "war movies." In fact, I still don't but that's besides the point. I think the question becomes how do we classify what exactly is a war movie, and what is a movie that takes place during war. Why do films like Braveheart and Bridge on the River Kwai often find themselves so high on general films lists but so low on "war" films lists? How do we separate, even at a subconscious level, a war film from a movie that takes place during war.
For example: Atonement. If you were to ask me to put down all the labels for Atonement I don't think war movie would even strike me as a possibility. But alas it does take place during the early days of WW2, and as such could very well be a war movie. What makes Letters From Iwo Jima different from Atonement? Is it that one takes place in its entirety in war and the other takes place in events surrounding it? I sadly don't have the answer. Would it be wrong of us to separate the two? If so then do we begin to throw in films such as Casablanca as a war movie. Do movies such as The Bicycle Thieves which deal with the aftermath of a war qualify?
Of course if we decide that the two are of separate stature how do we decide which ones are which? Do we separate based on a certain level of action? Movies that take place during battles are war movies, movies that take place at home or movies during war? Then what is Der Untergang, sure there is a level of battle, but it's a movie about people of the war, not people in the battles. Does a war movie have to be historical, can it only take place via actual events or do the science fiction realm qualify since they are at times about wars? As it is the only definition of war is "a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations." Let's be honest that doesn't help much.
If you're hoping that right now I'm going to whip out some simple definition that sums it all up I hate to disappoint, but alas I cannot. I don't think there is a simple answer. I think we all, due to a million reasons, each select what we qualify as a war movie on our own. I really want to hear from you all, how do you separate a war film from a film during war, or do you at all?
Thanks for reading!