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by The Revolutionary Film Reviewer
Friday, Feb. 05, 2010 at 9:18 AM
This year ten films will compete in the Best Picture category. Several of these films deal with actual current and past wars, and others with mythically symbolic conflicts.
Academy Awards Nominees For "Best Anti-War" Film?
--by The Revolutionary Film Reviewer
Academy Award nominations were announced February 2, 2010. This year ten films will compete in the Best Picture category. Several of these films deal with actual current and past wars, and others with mythically symbolic conflicts.
Among the ten titles combating for Best Film are "Inglorious Basterds", "Avatar", "The Hurt Locker", and District 9"--- all of them fairly well shot, directed and reviewed.
As we feast at the golden trough provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, here are some other film points to ponder, viewed through the eyes of an anti-war activist and film connesuir.
You can't get a mainstream film financed in Hollywood about the plight of Palestine and the Palestinians, but change the 'Palestinians' into 'Space Aliens' and have the action take place literally over and in South Africa (safe and obvious metaphor for apartheid-esque Gaza--not to mention South Africa itself) where the space aliens are walled-up and fenced in throughout segregated camps, complete with check-points, torture, and organ-removal laboratories, and whalla!...you have the film "DISTRICT 9"....(rhymes with Pal-es-tine).
The producers could have called it anything they wanted. "Area 9", "District 38" or "Aliens Over Africa", but they didn't. They called it "District 9".
And, you can't make an linear, realistic, anti-war film against the American destruction, occupation and war against Iraq and its people for its natural resources (oil, location, etc.), much less one where you CHEER for the oppressed "native people" to fight back, but, you CAN make the Hollywood film IF you change the Iraqis into eight-foot-tall, blue humanoids called "Na'vi" (Iraqi?) whom the U.S government created AVATARS for so they can infiltrate, occupy and steal the Na'vi land and more.
Then, set in the future, get James Cameron to write and direct it (he has both the power and Hollywood pull) and shoot this project called "AVATAR" in 3-D.
While another film also nominated for the Academy Award Best Picture, THE HURT LOCKER, is gaining praise, the film mostly centers on the pain, the "hurt" of the American soldier deployed in Iraq.
The audience is lead along to feel THEIR pain. THEIR suffering. In most current American war movies the audience almost always gets to see a (usually White) soldier's wholesome family and feel THEIR pain from the separation from war--as we do again here in 'The Hurt Locker', complete with a soldier playing with his infant and shopping with his wife.
But, where is the Black soldier's family flashback or flash-forward? Where are the female soldiers? Where are any complete Iraqi family units in this film? Grandmothers and Grandfathers and children? Families and neighbors? Where are the loving Iraqis?
The one time we see what comes close to a complete family in Iraq is when the lead American soldier breaks into an Iraqi home brandishing a drawn pistol-- the mildly-surprised Iraqi man of the household welcome's him in. "Are you CIA"? he asks, and invites the soldier who JUST ILLEGALLY entered his home to sit down. It's only when that man's (probable) wife briefly enters the scene do we get any resistance to the break-in.
Almost ALL the Iraqis portrayed in THIS film are instantly possible bomb-detonating suspects or shady characters--(in their own illegally occupied land). The violence against Iraqis is almost always done by other Iraqis (the Iraqi man who has a bomb strapped and locked to him and is ultimately blown to pieces for example; or the young boy who is vivisected as a bomb encasement.)
"What savages the Iraqis are for doing this to our troops, that innocent man and that young boy", is what I'm sure many are thinking as they watch the film.
The Hurt Locker really does not take a position on the war. It's sort of an agnostic point of view which instead decides to just portray the American soldiers' horrorific experiences. Friends being slaughtered. American and Britsh military power. Humiliating the Iraqis. And almost always with an air of privilege, dominance and superiority.
There is also one odd, racist (?) scene where the same White American soldier mentioned above, rough-houses with a Black soldier and ends up straddling and ultimately riding the Black soldier like a horse (a "buck"?) --who then, understandablly upset (stereotypically) pulls a knife to the throat of the White soldier.
I was so hoping "The Hurt Locker" would be THE powerful, anti-war film America needs right now. While very slick and well directed and acted (including actual Iraqis who fled Iraq) it's not as progressive as one may hope it to be.
And as much as I didn't like the overrated "Inglorious Basterds", (possibly unknowingly anti-semitic---we rarely get to know any Jewish character well; re-wrote WW2 history---Hitler machine-gunned in the face and the other head Gestapo burned alive in a theatre fire?; Eli Roth's and Brad Pitt's pathetic performances, etc.), I naturally, fully support freedom of speech and press and realize and honor the director's 'poetic license'.
However, this particular film is more a 'fantasy payback for Nazi atrocities' which sounds like a cool idea, but I wonder why Quentin Tarantino couldn't make a more serious film about WWII and not just some silly, over-written rip-off of sub-culture, grindhouse genre films.
Best Picture....for this?
I don't know or really care which film will win the Academy honor, but, if you really want to see two Hollywood, anti-war films--go see AVATAR and DISTRICT 9, -- just explain the symbolism to others.
The Revolutionary Film Reviewer (copyright February 3, 2010)
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