By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
If Hollywood's war films of the 1940s through '60s were supposed to pump a country up for battle, Cal State Fullerton's latest International Film Series aims to at least make people think before satisfying their blood lust.
Professor Helene Domon of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department organized the free Peace and War on Planet Earth series, which starts Sunday and continues Sundays through May 25. Of course, Iraq may resemble a glow-in-the-dark pancake by then.
The features and documentaries cover wars at home and abroad. The series kicks off Sunday with Elem Klimov's acclaimed 1985 Soviet feature Come and See. A free reception follows. (Greg Stacy provides more details in his Special Screenings column in Calendar.)
March 9 brings Pierce Rafferty and Jayne Loader's 1982 compilation of archival Cold War film footage The Atomic Café. You probably saw this years ago, but it will piss you off even more today over the lies our leaders and media spoon-fed us through the years. It's followed by arguably the best anti-war movie ever, Stanley Kubrick's 1964 black-and-white spoof of Cold War politics Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Peter Sellers is a scream in three roles—but none is more hilarious than George C. Scott's frenzied hawk General Buck Turgidson. Professor Phillip L. Gianos discusses the film afterward.
Other presentations (with those leading discussions in parentheses) are: Terrence Malick's beautifully shot, intricately layered 1998 film The Thin Red Line on March 16 (professor/Weeklybooks editor Cornel Bonca); Bahman Ghobadi's 2000 Iranian, Kurdish-language A Time for Drunken Horses on March 23 (professor Touraj Daryaee); "Vietnam According to Hollywood"—featuring excerpts from Oliver Stone's breakout Platoon (1986), Brian De Palma's underappreciated Casualties of War (1989), John Irvin's ultraviolent Hamburger Hill (1987), Francis Ford Coppola's sprawling masterpiece Apocalypse Now (1979) and Stanley Kubrick's haunting Full Metal Jacket(1987)—screens with the 2002 doc Saigon USAby Lindsey Jang, Robert C. Winn and Jeffrey Brody on March 30 (journalism prof Brody and Hamburger Hill star Kieu Chinh); Ram Loevy's 2002 Israel/Palestine documentary Close, Closed, Closure and Antonia Caccia's 2001 Palestine doc Bethlehem Diaryon April 6 (professors William Haddad and Benjamin Hubbard); The Execution of Private Slovik, Lamont Johnson's Emmy-winning teleplay of 1974, starring everyone's favorite lefty president Martin Sheen as the only American soldier to face execution for desertion since the Civil War on April 13 (professor Helen Jaskoski and star Mariclare Costello).
The series continues with Lee Mun Wah's 1994 documentary The Color of Fearand Tsitsi Dangarembga's 1996 Zimbabwean movie Everyone's Child on April 20 (professors Carl Jackson and Wacira Gethaiga); American documentaries Contact: The Yanomami Indians of Brazil by Geoffrey O'Connor (1990) and Baraka by Ron Fricke (1993) on April 27 (O'Connor and professor Barbra Erickson); Grave of Fireflies, Takahata Isao's 1988 animated anti-war picture from Japan on May 4 (professors Kristine Dennehy and William Haddad); Germany, Pale Mother, Helma Sanders-Brahm's 1980 feature on World War II from the perspective of a struggling German mother and daughter on May 11 (professor Curtis Swanson); No Man Is an Island, Richard Goldstone and John Monks Jr.'s 1962 flick about an American serviceman left on Guam during the Japanese occupation, screens with Imua Tamuning Eagles (2003), where documentarians Vicente M. Diaz, Herman Crisostomo and Michael P. Perez trace a Guam football team against the backdrop of U.S. military colonialism on May 18 (professor Perez and Diaz); The Official Story, Luis Puezo's 1985 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Picture, depicts a mother coming to terms with Argentina's Dirty War on May 25 (professor Sandra M. Pérez-Linggi).
A series-concluding free reception follows The Official Story. All screenings begin at 5:30 p.m. in Room 110 of Cal State Fullerton's Humanities Building at 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 278-3498.
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UC Irvine's Film and Video Center presents a look at a lauded American diplomat who is increasingly being viewed as a war . . . excuse me . . . alleged war criminal. With The Trials of Henry Kissinger, filmmakers Eugene Jarecki and Alex Gibney breathe new life into Christopher Hitchens' book of the same name. Five nations have sought to summon Henry the K, who has been accused of undermining Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam peace talks, creating the coup that toppled Chilean President Salvador Allende, engineering the secret bombing of Cambodia and blessing Indonesian president Suharto's use of U.S. arms to massacre 100,000 East Timorese.
Hailed as a brilliant legal brief and chilling psychodrama, The Trials of Henry Kissingerscreens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, in Room 100 of UCI's Humanities Instructional Building, West Peltason Drive, Irvine, (949) 824-7418. Admission is $3-$5. Park across the street in the Pereira Parking Structure, which charges a special Film and Video Center rate of $2.
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