November 11th – A War
This weeks film from Lincoln Film Society on Friday November 11th was ‘A War’. I guess the clue for the subject is in the title, although I don’t know whether the film was scheduled on purpose on this day of remembrance …
I’d had some bad news the day before watching this film so already feeling emotional, this film really brought home to me the atrocities of war, and how making a split second decision can make so much difference to an outcome.
The film stars Pilou Asbæk, Tuva Novotny and Søren Malling and was Directed by Tobias Lindholm. It was nominated for 1 Oscar and had another 6 wins & 22 award nominations
Without including too many spoilers, all I will say is that the film was set in Afghanistan, and is about a Danish Army Commander (in Danish with English Sub-Titles).
Company commander Claus M. Pedersen (Pilou Asbæk) and his men are stationed in an Afghan province. Meanwhile back in Denmark Claus’ wife Maria (Tuva Novotny) is trying to hold everyday life together with a husband at war and three children missing their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences for him, and his family back home.
The first thing to say is that I hadn’t even considered that the Danish Army were also playing such an important part in the war in Afghanistan and it made me wonder that whatever the country, whatever the war, are soldiers doing everything in their power to always do the right thing? It’s got to be tough, especially in the circumstances highlighted in this film; I still can’t decide what would have been the right thing to do here!
One of the outstanding features of this film for me was the sound, or lack of it in this case. There is very little background score which is really effective when it comes to drama, it really gave the viewer time to think and contemplate; I wish more filmmakers would do this.
In my local theatre company, we’ve recently been asked to look in more depth at silence and stillness in a way of adding power to a performance; Ben Poole, our Director, said:
Stillness is a powerful ingredient in great acting. Stillness, a lack of action, is visual silence. Stillness and silence work together. They are often more affecting to an audience than actions and words.
The use of silence in the score, and visual emptiness, followed by loud and dramatic gunfire and chaos really gave the important scenes the significant impact they deserved.
A review on IMDb by sheddenmatthew, said:
“Having some time to reflect has lead me to conclude that this is one of the best and truest dramas I have seen in a long time.”
I have to agree; not knowing much about this particular war, this film really shows how emotionally involved the soldiers become, whilst trying to put on the brave face for their colleagues, and constantly providing support for their families left at home.
The whole film still has me thinking and contemplating, and it will take a long time before I can truthfully say what I would do if faced with the same situation, either of Commander Claus Pedersen or his wife… it’s a real moral dilemma and one which I hope I never have to face!
The outstanding image of a child’s foot, visible from under the bedcovers will stay with me for a long time…
NEXT WEEK – 18th November 2016:
Tangerine (USA 2015 Cert 15)
Lincoln Film Society says about this film:
“This zero-budget feature concerning two transgender prostitutes Sin-Dee and Alexandra bursts upon the screen in all its garish glory! It has achieved a certain renown for having been shot on an i-Phone. This achievement, though remarkable, should not overshadow the considerable merits of the film itself. With restless energy Sin-Dee and Alexandra launch themselves on to the mean streets of down-town LA, the former in the hope of settling her boyfriend problems, the latter in search of her dream of becoming a singer. What we witness is hilarious, touching, shocking – but never patronising. Lent an authentic urgency by the method of its filming, “Tangerine” is truly an event in the annals of the cinema. (Strong language throughout).”
Looks like it’s going to be another interesting one!