Pissonu Alert

Other Alerts

dhs advisory
Terror Alert Level


3 Trips Through Hell with 3 Great Directors

I was home sick yesterday and caught up on a few movies I've been wanting to watch for a long time. The theme appeared to be
WWII: Eastern European Victim Perspective

I started off with Andrzej Wajda's Kanal. It's a Dantean trip through a magnificently rendered architectural hell that succeeds in transcending its metaphor. It attains existential profundity examining humanity in the face of futility as insurgents desperately avoid Nazis by travelling through allegorical sewers.

I followed this up with Elem Klimov's Come and See, another trip through hell, this one updating Bosch's vision of hell to modern times. The title comes from St. John's invitation in The Book of Revelations to "Come and See" The Apocalypse as it unfolds. I would say that if one has the guts to see what war is like stripped of all romanticism then they should check this movie out. (And it might be instructive, as well, for Americans to get a sense of how the rest of the world is coming to see them.) A unique, remarkable, even beautiful film.

I finished off the triple feature with Roman Polanski's The Pianist; though the most "Hollywood" and "entertaining" of the three it was a powerfully rendered indictment of war and hate, as well as the power of art and compassion. I also can't help but wonder if Polanski was intentionally drawing parallels between the Nazi's apartheid of Jews in Warsaw and Israel's apartheid of Palestinians.

These movies are great works of art based on real events that capture Truth as only works of great art can. (Also, for an interesting bit of trivia, the first two used live ammunition to realistically depict flying bullets.) I think Americans, who haven't experienced war on their native soil in quite a few generations — and never modern warfare — might want to avoid these movies and watch another rerun of Friends instead. These war movies, after all, are not very entertaining, and they're kind of downers, especially Come and See.