Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Antiwar Surge

From Surge of antiwar films by Ed Rampell:

After Pearl Harbor, Hollywood went to war, making training shorts such as Jap Zero with Ronald Reagan and morale boosters such as Casablanca.

During the Korean War, only one film - Retreat, Hell! in 1952 - was released during the conflict. There aren't too many movies, sympathetic or critical, about Korea.

During the unpopular Vietnam War, however, Tinseltown went AWOL, releasing only one Indochina-set feature, John Wayne's hawkish The Green Berets in 1968. The dovish Oscar-winning documentary Hearts and Minds came toward war's end. Films less sympathetic to the war - Coming Home with Jon Voight and Jane Fonda, Apocalypse Now with Marlon Brando, and Oliver Stone's Platoon - came well afterward.

In contrast, today's wars on terror and in Afghanistan and Iraq have unleashed an unprecedented antiwar cinematic surge while those conflicts are still going on. To be sure, there have been patriotic, pro-administration, and right-leaning films and TV series. But overwhelmingly, the film world has been antiwar and ready to sink production money into saying so - even if the films hardly break even. It's a concerted media protest unlike any that have gone before - and it suggests that filmmakers are frustrated with the way the too-careful mainstream media got hornswoggled in their Iraq coverage.
Read the rest here.

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