Sunday, January 18, 2004

Working with film students at this university had really dampened my enthusiasm for watching, much less thinking about movies. I vowed last year that I would never be a teaching assistant for another film class ever again, though unfortunately because of Arnold's awful proposed budget, I wont be able to be at all picky about how I earn the pennies they give us graduate students in the humanities.
At least for this year, however, I get to take a break from film students and teach an interesting array of classes. The best part has been that I am now remembering the pleasures of picking what films I want to see and who I want to discuss them with. A category of films I've always enjoyed are ones that are about war. And I don't mean self-congratulatory, moralizing, we-are-so-ethical-and-great-even-in-war films like "Pearl Harbor", "Saving Private Ryan", and the like. I mean fairly critical films that somehow take as their setting war and war mentality. In the last two days I've watched "Apocalypse Now" and "Dr. Strangelove" and have an inkling to watch "Full Metal Jacket".
Maybe I am just looking for an excuse to indulge myself with great films, but I really think it is important to be in touch with critiques of past wars because they are relevant for our relationships to present wars. And as much as I hate the feel-good or tug-on-your-heart movies about war, I think it is important to watch those as well, since they provide important insights into how propaganda machines package war, justify it, and overall make it palatable for our consumption.
Ok, well, I am off to watch more war movies. In the meanwhile, if you have any suggestions about what to see, email me your favorites.