Thursday, September 16, 2004

Bring Out Your Dead!

Since I've been back at school, I've been re-visiting what I consider to be the greatest thing ever put on film: the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers." As I go from episode to episode, seemingly unable to stop, driven to put the next episode in (I have the same problem with "The Sopranos"), I realize that I noticed a trend this series as well as other war movies, specifically those on World War II, carry forth.

The trend is this, friends. In "Band of Brothers," there are countless examples of one man in Easy Company risking his life to save one of the others, even if the second man is injured. One episode in particular highlights a group of soldiers who try and sneak back into a German-controlled town in Holland (complete with tanks) to rescue one of their missing soldiers. Why don't the Germans do this? It's a very suttle stereotype, that the Germans don't care about their fellow soldier, or they aren't willing to risk their lives to save their buddies. I don't necessarily blame the filmmakers in the case of "Band of Brothers" because I think they do a very good job of trying to portray the Germans as they were in 1944-1945. Granted, the series is filmed from the viewpoint of life among American troops, so there is the fair share of "Kraut" thrown around among the soldiers, but I can't recall the series ever showing the German brutatlity that we knew existed in the Third Reich. We do see American brutality, however.

I think the underlying point is that things can be much more suttle than we might think. We don't have to see a German soldier bashing an un-armed American prisoner to maybe get the idea that they were brutal people. Does it make you wonder what else you might have been told while watching movies that maybe you missed, but your subconscious didn't?


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