"But The Shining speaks to what makes Kubrick such an interesting and, for a lot of people, troublesome filmmaker, because he does not give you what you want. At all. He does not give you a Vietnam movie set in the jungle, and he does not give you a horror movie that is just like Stephen King’s The Shining. He doesn’t even give you scares for a long time, [just] ominous foreboding. And it takes people a while to figure out, “Oh, maybe I don’t know what I want. Maybe this is better.” - Mefi's Own Jon Hodgman talks about Full Metal Jacket with Scott Tobias for "The Last Great Movie I Saw."
Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
Channel 4's 100 Greatest War Films as voted for by their (generally more clued-up than average) viewership has plenty for you to disagree with, but much to recommend. Filmsite.org has a history of war films (as does Berkeley) for the completists among you. There are more war films from and about Vietnam and Indochina than you can shake a bayonet at (see also the 1999 NYT article, Apocalypse Then: Vietnam Marketing War Films to learn a little about the Vietnamese government's 1960s and 70s archive of war film). The [British] national archives have archived film from pre-WWI to the Cold War.
“The problem is not to make political films but to make films politically.” In "Tout Va Bien", just released on Criterion DVD, four years after May '68 Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin examine the wreckage: fading workers' empowerment (page with sound), media fatuity, capitalist sprawl, global imperialist mayhem, interpersonal disconnections. "Tout Va Bien" is the story of a strike at a factory as witnessed by an American reporter (Jane Fonda) and her has-been New Wave film director husband (Yves Montand). Included on the DVD is also Letter to Jane (1972), a short film in which Godard and Gorin spend an hour examining the semiotics of a single, hypnotizing photograph of Fonda as she shares feelings with a Vietnamese villager. More inside.
"We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." In The Fog of War, a revelatory new documentary about his life and times, a disquieted Robert McNamara implores us to understand why he did the things he did as an Air Force lieutenant colonel who helped plan the firebombing of Japanese cities in World War II, and, later, as a secretary of defense and pivotal decision-maker during Vietnam, which some Americans came to call "McNamara's War." One of the movie's most powerful passages covers McNamara's little-known service in World War II, when he was attached to Gen. Curtis LeMay's 21st Bomber Command stationed on the Pacific island of Guam. LeMay's B-29s showered 67 Japanese cities with incendiary bombs in 1945, softening up the country for the two atomic blasts to come. McNamara was a senior planning officer. Story by "Killing Fields"' Sydney Schanberg in the American Prospect (more inside)
It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it. Platoon. Full Metal Jacket. The opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan. It's surprising that anyone volunteers for the armed forces after a steady diet of Hollywood depictions of the horrors of war. In "Jarhead" Gulf War sniper Anthony Swafford contends that these"...Vietnam War films are all pro-war, regardless of what... Kubrick or Coppola or Stone intended. Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography for the military man." Does the terrible beauty of Apocalypse Now actually help military recruitment?