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Re: Fury

It has truly grown on me with rewatching. I've noticed they keep playing chords from the SS march from the final battle throughout the movie - VERY sweet tie-in to the biblical reference before the battle. Only when I watched it the third time did I notice the young lieutenant blowing his brains out with his .45. I don't see a reason to call it 'propaganda,' as I don't see what information it disseminates that doesn't have truth value. They even show the GIs shooting prisoners. They could've shown them raping German women (the insinuation is there) but how far could they go without disrespecting the Fallen and veterans?

Re: Bondarchuk's War and Peace

He ruined the film by casting his 46 year old self as the early 20 something Pierre, and his 39 year old wife as the early 20 something Helene. [Fun fact: The Soviet ambassador in The Day After is named Anatoliy Kuragin like Helene's scheming brother.] However, I am sorry that his epic Waterloo - with the Soviet Army as extras as in War and Peace - is all but forgotten. It's a must-watch for anyone reading this...

PHOb5a3bce2-4c58-11e3-bf25-bf78c572967c-

"There are two kinds of women and you, as we well know, are not the first kind. You, my dear, are a slut."

 

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A little humor....😎

I think the Abrams in CMBS is somewhat more godly than in reality. I also think the technical aspects of armored vehicles matters less in real wars than in war games. In an actual war between NATO and

Guidance helicopters VKS RF to strike at ISIS.  

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8 hours ago, hattori said:

I think everyone understands all war movies are like this, not just Soviet.  Pretty much all American war movies are propaganda pieces, and the latest, "Fury" made me want to cry.  I'm no soldier, and even I can see how terribly that one was done.

There's an importance to separate lack of realism for propaganda.  

Firstly as a tangent, I loved Fury for the following realism based reasons:

1. It captured the feel of being on a tank crew really well, that sort of closeness and intimacy that comes when you're basically sharing a coffin with some other dudes if stuff goes wrong.  Like my crew at one time was a mix of a Fillipino immigrant, former California stoner, and ex-skateboarder from Manhattan (with a Micheal Wittman fixation), and there was nothing at all the same about us culturally, background, growing up, whatever, but for that stretch of time in D66 we were all as close as you get.  

2. It captured the deeply ammoral concept of war.  There were no square jawed heroes, and in a lot of ways it was a lot of guys who likely had once been "good" or at least normal burned up by war.

The end of the movie?  Didn't really like it.  Felt it was too Hollywood.  But the point wasn't showing how superior America is, and how just Americans are because American principles are American and thereby good, it was to give a violent end to the movie where the war consumes the warrior, leaving our outsider narrator to walk away.

In that regard,I do also take some issue with the movie because as much as Fury's crew felt the full wages of war, there's a lot of other men who were in similar shoes who had to ride a boat back to the US, go back to Smalltown Iowa, and try to become normal non-killing non-tanking humans again.  Which boy let me tell you, even making a smallish transition like I did, it's a deeply alienating experience.

As more directly to propaganda:

Plenty of American movies have the protagonist triumphing over hoards of whatever, massive bad guy organizations, laying waste to the entire something or other.  This has less to do with "America uber alles" and much more to do with an individualistic ethos that regardless of reality, we adhere to.  We don't celebrate good teams, we celebrate star players.  We don't care how 352nd Pursuit Squadron did in WW2, we care about top aces and kill counts.  Therein our movies will focus on a hero who is exceptional more often than not, because again, we believe firmly in the exceptional individual.

However look beyond the American with the M60 in each hand, standing on the pile of dead commies and into how the US as a nation-state, or the American ideals are treated.  There's a very large number of US war movies (to use a more direct example) that portray a much more troubled side to America and Americans at war.  Films like Platoon, Apocalypse Now, The Big Red One, Catch 22, and even Rambo all portray a very dim view of War, the Military, and America.

Soviet film making however was entirely subordinated to the state, and the state's objectives.  While it wasn't so crass as to just be the Red Army saves all, it never asked deeper questions, or delved too deep into troubling questions and behaviors.  Soviet film making was controlled by the state, to the state's end, and that should not be forgotten.  

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While I agree with you on the most part, panzersauerkrautwerfer, I'd to point out that Soviet filmmaking (especially in the 80's) wasn't always sympathetic to the government or always did what the government wanted.  One that immediately pokes out in my mind is Afghanskii Izlom, which plays into some of the tropes you mention in Fury.  If I recall correctly, the director Liberation had some issues early on in including the mistakes of STAVKA, but eventually got to film what he wanted a number of years later.  Though a large part of both of those may come from the effects of perestroika.

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One film that went significantly beyond the accepted norms - and got lauded for it in the West - way back in 1957 was The Cranes Are Flying. It touched the taboo subjects of infidelity of soldiers' women back home and draft dodgers. Interestingly, in light of HerrTom's examples, it too is considered a liberty that could be taken thanks to The Thaw. According to the Russian Wikipedia, Khrushchev himself called the heroine a 'slut.' [No relation to my Rod Steiger quote above.]

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20 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

While I agree with you on the most part, panzersauerkrautwerfer, I'd to point out that Soviet filmmaking (especially in the 80's) wasn't always sympathetic to the government or always did what the government wanted.  One that immediately pokes out in my mind is Afghanskii Izlom, which plays into some of the tropes you mention in Fury.  If I recall correctly, the director Liberation had some issues early on in including the mistakes of STAVKA, but eventually got to film what he wanted a number of years later.  Though a large part of both of those may come from the effects of perestroika.

There's still a practical limit to how far those portrayals could go, and it was only done at the whims of the government.  There was a practical limit to how much could be shown, questions that could be asked, and unfortunate events displayed.  Saying American films were equally propaganda oriented is missing the reality that US censorship was very modest, and especially in the post Red Scare era, largely oriented on making sure Americans were not overly exposed to boobs.  There's attempted "messaging" (see Department of Defense participation in films), or official statements on films (see the start of Dr Strangelove and it's official USAF denial that the nuclear release authority could be compromised as filmed), but filmmakers could, and did show the US government and it's agencies in a profoundly negative light rather frequently with no restrictions.

There's a big difference between Big Brother allowing you to toe the boundaries, and Big Brother being unable to do anything to stop you from making a film about him sodomizing a sheep.  .   

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Just now, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

There's a big difference between Big Brother allowing you to toe the boundaries, and Big Brother being unable to do anything to stop you from making a film about him sodomizing a sheep.  .   

Oh there's no doubt about that.  A+ for the imagery.

55 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

While it wasn't so crass as to just be the Red Army saves all, it never asked deeper questions, or delved too deep into troubling questions and behaviors.

I was mostly responding to this bit, which I admit I should have quoted in my first post!

8 minutes ago, Machor said:

 

One film that went significantly beyond the accepted norms - and got lauded for it in the West - way back in 1957 was The Cranes Are Flying. It touched the taboo subjects of infidelity of soldiers' women back home and draft dodgers. Interestingly, in light of HerrTom's examples, it too is considered a liberty that could be taken thanks to The Thaw. According to the Russian Wikipedia, Khrushchev himself called the heroine a 'slut.' [No relation to my Rod Steiger quote above.]

 

I haven't seen this one, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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1 minute ago, HerrTom said:

I was mostly responding to this bit, which I admit I should have quoted in my first post!

Propaganda is a very interesting area of study.  Unsophisticated propaganda fails pretty easily because it tends to be very A is good, B is bad.  A never makes mistakes and his here to protect you, while B is evil incarnate and desires to eat your babies.  

It doesn't work so well, especially in increasingly "free" information environments or with educated populations.  Think of it like concrete, it's very hard (especially when counter-message information is hard to acquire!), but it's also brittle.  If the state tells you that The Great Patriotic War was all sunshine and comrades trumping the Fascists at every turn, the monuments at gates at Moscow, and the fact grandpa curses his idiot Major who got all his friends killed ruptures this monolithic truth, which then casts doubt on the entire narrative.

Basically you want to build "crumple zones" into your message.  You admit errors, but contain them.  Yes the early war Soviet efforts in 1941 were poor, undercut by bloated peacetime officers, but once the state sorted it out, all of us Comrades rallied and we fought to Berlin as Liberators!  Yes, Afghanistan was a mess, and poorly thought out, but good Russian soldiers relying on each other redeemed the motherland and the Russian people.

Again, the follow on questions are not permitted, it's enough that what is not the the "good" messaging is shown to satisfy people who know better than the state always being correct, it answers enough questions to hopefully dead-end the curious, and keeps the really nasty or unfortunate questions and answers locked up somewhere.  Yes mistakes were made, but we fixed them and now onward to the gift shop.

Which isn't to say that this wasn't, and is not done outside of the Soviet Union/Russian Federation, simply that until there's Russian films (or were Soviet films) showing a lot more honesty in history, there's reason to eye those films with some suspicion, or see them with footnotes.    

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14 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Basically you want to build "crumple zones" into your message.  You admit errors, but contain them.  

"crumple zones".  An excellent term for this tactic.  It can be seen in modern Russian state controlled media.  For example, Russia is deeply involved in the Donbas war.  Foreign leaders and Western media make mention of Russia's activities almost on a daily basis.  Even the tiny amount of mostly free press in Russia makes mention of it.  The usual response is to acknowledge, and even directly quote, statements and then dismiss them without directly challenging them in a true way.  A reader sees it, understands that it's not outright denial, thinks "both sides" are being given a fair hearing, and then follows the path laid out by the authors.  Which, obviously, leads them away from the truth.

It's a very effective tactic and is certainly practiced in the West by media which is agenda driven instead of being objective.

Steve

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Machor,

Having never read the book, I was unaware of what the ages should've been, but I vaguely recollect thinking the guy was pretty old, but then, I was in junior high, so that bar was low. Had no idea Bondarchuk and his wife were in it. Great tidbit of film history.

panzersaurkrautwerfer,

Thought you made some excellent points about both "Fury" and what it's really like in a tank crew. Don't know whether or not it was true, but the depiction of armored warfare as fundamentally deeply grimy and greasy really resonated with me, since it was both reasonable and created a certain brooding atmosphere. Short crewing the tank would've been late war correct, but would've put a kink in the interaction possibilities. Naturally, the film couldn't convey the smell of all those long unwashed bodies and various fuel and propellant fumes. That stuff must've been spectacular during ODS in particular. I have been in a WW II Sherman, and the interior was white. And while someone had to clean out the bloody remnants of a casualty, it wasn't a tank crewman, but some luckless guy in Ordnance when the tank was brought in for repair.

D66's crew would make for a most interesting war film, since the people are so different, yet everyone lives or dies in the same (massively protected but still killable) steel box. Since you brought up "Apocalypse Now," unless you've seen the director's cut, you haven't seen the movie. Watching it completely changed my whole perception of the film. Coppola fought like crazy to show the full film, but the studio execs forced him to butcher the film to meet their desired run time. "Go Tell the Spartans" is an excellent war film and shows what's coming for the US when the war gets going in a big way.

All,

Brother Charles sent me this link from Sputnik News showing an official press release--with photo-- from Mayekev Design Bureau regarding the new Sarmat heavy ICBM.
https://sputniknews.com/military/201610241046655887-sarmat-image-declassified/

I responded with this
https://sputniknews.com/military/201609071045062797-sarmat-ahead-of-schedule-analysis/

"Was unaware of this, but then, my knowledge base these days is pretty awful. A Russian program ahead of schedule is amazing on the face of it, but this may be the result of enormous emphasis by Putin on his strategic nuclear weaponry. Our missiles are pretty geriatric, and their computers would likely give you an infarct. The weapon violates SALT II and everything since. This program is super ambitious technologically, though I should note that during the Cold War the Russians used to have something like 7 hypersonic wind tunnels, while we had 1! This was a source of real concern in the defense community. While I urge having large amounts of salt on hand given the source, the material is both technologically interesting and provocative. Make no mistake here. That press release is a very strong signal by Putin to the US in particular, any NATO countries deploying BMD, and to the world at large that Russia will have a heavy BMD busting ICBM with a strike capability no MIRVs could begin to provide. Sarmat may be one of Putin's programs whose budget and production priority are immune to deficits which have thrown programs such as Armata into multi-year delays. That Sarmat announcement is intended to both awe and cow those who see it. I should also note that people don't seem to realize that ICBM reentry speeds have been hypersonic for ages. Mach 22, for example, has been with us since the first ICBM, and a really fast ICBM comes in at Mach 26. I think the writers are confusing the hypersonic glide vehicles with the missile's terminal velocity."

I presented this because I believe it shows the high end of Russian weapon programs enjoying a priority that makes Armata a nonentity by comparison. How many T-14s could Putin have for but one Sarmat?!

Regards,

John Kettler

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On 10/25/2016 at 8:39 PM, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Which isn't to say that this wasn't, and is not done outside of the Soviet Union/Russian Federation, simply that until there's Russian films (or were Soviet films) showing a lot more honesty in history, there's reason to eye those films with some suspicion, or see them with footnotes.    

I don't think that American film has been particularly successful in terms of critiquing American policy, even though it isn't expressly forbidden from doing so. It's important to remember that there were no anti-war films made until several years after the Fall of Saigon, unless you want to count M*A*S*H*. With the exception of Dr. Strangelove (a singular movie), most American war films are not very specific in any kind of critique. Usually you get a narrow perspective of a horrible experience (Platoon, The Deer Hunter). We haven't seen a Gulf of Tonkin movie yet, and we probably never will. Similarly, there's yet to be a critical look at the events that led up to the second Gulf War. I would also argue that Apocalypse Now is not an anti-war movie, although it is a masterpiece. The Day After was probably the most effective example of anti-war film-making in the US, even though it pales when compared to Threads, its British equivalent. 

If you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend the 1985 Soviet film Come and See, which is quite possibly the best anti-war movie. It is one of the most jarring and unsettling films I have ever seen, particularly as it follows a 12-year old boy instead of a soldier. 

 

As an aside, I think you could make a very fair argument that Hollywood is beholden to capital, in much the same way as Soviet film-making was beholden to the state, although I don't know if this is the place for a comparative political economy of superpower cinema. :-)

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22 minutes ago, Chudacabra said:

If you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend the 1985 Soviet film Come and See, which is quite possibly the best anti-war movie. It is one of the most jarring and unsettling films I have ever seen, particularly as it follows a 12-year old boy instead of a soldier. 

Looking at the trailer you posted, that is some beautiful cinematography and intense (and probably illegal in the west) practical effects.  Really shows the different way of thinking, since the Soviet filmmakers got paid regardless of whether the movie blew the box office or not. :)

23 minutes ago, Chudacabra said:

As an aside, I think you could make a very fair argument that Hollywood is beholden to capital, in much the same way as Soviet film-making was beholden to the state, although I don't know if this is the place for a comparative political economy of superpower cinema

Primo!  W.r.t. propaganda and media: since capital comes from the people in the west, you hear and see what the people want to hear and see in film.  Capital that comes from the state shows and says what the state wants.  Something something about money and evil....

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1 hour ago, Chudacabra said:

f you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend the 1985 Soviet film Come and See, which is quite possibly the best anti-war movie. It is one of the most jarring and unsettling films I have ever seen, particularly as it follows a 12-year old boy instead of a soldier. 

 

Yes that film is haunting and as close as it gets to the horrors of war

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3 hours ago, Chudacabra said:

particularly as it follows a 12-year old boy instead of a soldier

Easily the most touching take on war through the eyes of children that I've seen (and I've seen Come and See) is the 2004 Finnish documentary The 3 Rooms of Melancholia.

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4 hours ago, Chudacabra said:

I don't think that American film has been particularly successful in terms of critiquing American policy, even though it isn't expressly forbidden from doing so. It's important to remember that there were no anti-war films made until several years after the Fall of Saigon,...

Wrong on both parts. Do more research, and you will find that since the beginning of "film/movies" there has been quite a few anti war, anti america du-juor. Self awareness is only achieved with knowledge

 

 

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stupid stuff, like the format options of this forum...
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6 hours ago, Chudacabra said:

I don't think that American film has been particularly successful in terms of critiquing American policy, even though it isn't expressly forbidden from doing so. It's important to remember that there were no anti-war films made until several years after the Fall of Saigon, unless you want to count M*A*S*H*. With the exception of Dr. Strangelove (a singular movie), most American war films are not very specific in any kind of critique. Usually you get a narrow perspective of a horrible experience (Platoon, The Deer Hunter). We haven't seen a Gulf of Tonkin movie yet, and we probably never will. Similarly, there's yet to be a critical look at the events that led up to the second Gulf War. I would also argue that Apocalypse Now is not an anti-war movie, although it is a masterpiece. The Day After was probably the most effective example of anti-war film-making in the US, even though it pales when compared to Threads, its British equivalent. 

If you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend the 1985 Soviet film Come and See, which is quite possibly the best anti-war movie. It is one of the most jarring and unsettling films I have ever seen, particularly as it follows a 12-year old boy instead of a soldier. 

 

As an aside, I think you could make a very fair argument that Hollywood is beholden to capital, in much the same way as Soviet film-making was beholden to the state, although I don't know if this is the place for a comparative political economy of superpower cinema. :-)

I too beg to differ, in that there's plenty of anti-war films, and indeed many highly critical of US policy.  The contention I would make though is that many of these films are highly tied to the times they occupy, like most "political" movies so in that they rarely stand the test of time.  The movies that endure culturally tend to be ones that have more longevity, or speak to deeper currents in the audience than current affairs, but you can't look at 60's-70's film making without "the man" being the villain half the time.  You do indeed have a fair amount of filtering 1940-1950 simply because of actual wartime censorship+the whole red scare making it unmarketable, but we've freely wallowed in things that would be entirely unacceptable in Soviet/Russian film making.

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Oh Come And See.....

Even just the title is haunting. 

It's a film I've find very very difficult to sit through. I've found myself getting up and walking to another room while it still plays,  without even realizing it. Just as an autonomic reaction. It's kinda appropriate that one of the countries that suffered the most in WW2 made the single most emotionally accurate and open films to come out of it. 

There is a valid point above, that there are plenty of US films that are anti war but very few that are anti US foreign Policy as it actually is, rather than how it portrays itself. Even Full Metal Jacket doesn't judge how or why the US is in Nam,  more how it treats the men it sends there. Brutal as it is, it's actually very limited in its critique - it ain't no Salvador,  for me one of Stone's most underrated films.  

I must check out that Finnish film. Always worth a look, the Finns. 

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Whilst not about a real war per se Ive noticed a huge difference in say portrayal of US policies and activities in Narcos on netflix ( US made etc) vs Pablo Escobar El Patron del Mal ( Colombian made ) and i think its a shame that people arent more involved ( and im 100 percent US go 'murica ) or educated in fixing or at least acknowlwdging my.natioms shameful activities in central.and south america.

even Mr Escobar - as terrible as he was the US basically and the Colombian fovt using the guys wife and children as dangling bait to assasinate him... look thats just not what America says its about or what we.re supposed to be about. same with killing him. sure i know its cuz some ppl there and probably here wuda gotten in hot water but jeez man.. 

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Machor,

I screwed up. I meant to say the links to "They Fought..." were to excellent quality English subtitled parts 1 and 2. I watched the film and was very impressed by it. Those guys looked every bit as weather beaten as the steppes they tramped across in the endless dust, and there wasn't a youngster in the bunch. I wonder how many of the actors had PTSD from all the explosions? With very few exceptions, those were HE bursts, not the usual Hollywood gasoline bomb stuff. Though it wasn't exactly clear, those men seemed to have been, by film's end, the rump of a regiment, since they had the all-important colors still, without which the survivors would've simply been sent as replacements. What confused me was the bit about Regiment sending a replacement LT. If Regimental HQ still existed, why did our stalwart lads have the colors? Turning to the pathetic remnants of the unit in the film, I recall reading about during the Battle of Moscow of how some divisions were reduced to 800 men and were reconstituted, while others were down to as few as 300 and were simply parted out as above. Numbers are very rough and based on faint recall. Were JasonC to watch the film, he'd doubtlessly opine 1) the use of weaponry as depicted  for AD was ridiculous and not doctrinal (should've been MGs and rifles fired en masse), 2) the odds of scoring a hit on a plane, never mind downing it, from an ATR would be practically zero (were it me, I'd shoot when it was boring in, not when it passed overhead) and 3) that had the Russians been able to do this, the Luftwaffe would've collapsed years earlier than it did when it came to ground attack! I noted with dismay, but by no means shock, that aircraft attack profiles, especially dive bombing pullout altitudes, were such as to pretty much guarantee ground clobber AKA splattering plane on steppe. Super cool to see a big Russian tractor (Stalinets?) and all those lovely M30s and ZIS-3s, not to mention those oh so distinctive Russian trucks from the period. The weapons of the thoroughly begrimed frontoviki looked every bits as campaign worn as they did. Was impressed with that one guy firing three round bursts from his PPSh41. If Hollywood did the same film, it would've been like a fire hose of lead which continued long after the drum magazine would've been empty!

For whomever provided the unsettling "I'm Afraid of Americans" video by David Bowie, I thought I'd mention it's the theme song for the very good spy show "Berlin Station." Rather apt, considering it's about the internal and external doings of the CIA there!

Regards,

John Kettler

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There was a claim made late in this thread to the effect that UNCONs never took major cities of a functioning foreign power. While we can certainly argue its general level of functioning "sick man of Europe, was it?) and its functioning in the region I'm about to mention, I feel I'd be most remiss if I failed to mention the Arab Rebellion against the Turks months before T.E. Lawrence arrived, a rebellion which captured both Mecca and Jeddah, not to mention his capture, together with a mere 45 rebels, of the key port of Aqaba.  And his final act along those lines was to take Damascus. This article is most informative and has a great deal to say about the origins of the current Syria mess as well.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-lawrence-arabia-180951857/?all

Regards,

John Kettler

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