October 15, 2004

Film series demonstrates different views of war

by Bonnie Marx

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - A series of films that demonstrates how filmmakers throughout the world depict war is on tap at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The recently launched Global Media Research Center in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts organized the film series in cooperation with the Carbondale Peace Coalition.

Each of the films will start at 7 p.m. in the Dean's Conference Room (Room 1032) in the Communications Building. Each screening will begin with a five-minute introduction and end with 20 minutes of discussion and refreshments.

Tuesday, Oct. 19

"Final Solution," a 2004 film directed by Rakesh Sharma and winner of the Best Documentary and Critic's Choice awards at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Wolfgang Staudte Award and Special Jury Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Banned by the Indian Board of Film Censors, "Final Solution" is a study of the politics of hate. Set in Gujarat, India between February 2002 and July 2003, the film examines the aftermath of the deadly violence that followed the burning of 58 Hindus on the Sabarmati Express train at Godhra in February 2002. The results included the brutal murder of some 2,500 Muslims, hundreds of women raped, and more than 200,000 families driven from their homes.

Tuesday, Oct. 26

"Fahrenheit 9/11," a documentary film on President George W. Bush in the wake of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 by Oscar-winning director Michael Moore. The film controversially won the best picture at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, then launched into North American theaters, becoming the first documentary to pull in more than $100 million.

Tuesday, Nov. 9

"Das Boot," a 1981 film directed by Wolfgang Peterson considered by many to be the best submarine movie of all time and one of the most heart-pounding thrillers ever filmed. In World War II Germany, many viewed submarine duty as a "glamour job." The grim truth was radically different from the shining fiction. Submarine service was a grueling, debilitating, dehumanizing experience, and "Das Boot" was the first motion picture to de-mythologize it completely.

Tuesday, Nov. 16 (Two films)

"The War Game," a 1965 film directed by Peter Watkins and originally made for British television, graphically but not luridly addresses the real effects of a nuclear attack. British governments of the era consistently played down the nuclear threat, claiming that civil defense units would handle an attack effectively. Watkins exposed the sham in a film the government promptly banned from being shown on TV.

"Blackadder Goes Forth," a 1989 film in the BBC's "Blackadder" series, directed by Richard Boden. The film brings the tale to the trenches and killing fields of World War I where the soldiers' lives are in the hands of a general, a bloodthirsty armchair warrior, who is quite mad. Blackadder's main concern is to dissuade the general from sending him and his men to certain death. Although this "Blackadder" episode is more serious in approach than its predecessors, it still manages to mine some laughs.