Films and the State

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As a follow-up to Charles’ blog re Hollywood’s support of the war system, I just finished watching a cable channel showing of one of the most powerful of anti-war films: Joyeux Noel. It is a French movie, focusing on actual events that occurred during World War I along the trenches in which German, Scottish, and French soldiers had been busy promoting the health of their respective states. On Christmas eve, 1914, a spontaneous cease-fire arose amongst these men, as they emerged from their trenches and began singing Christmas music, exchanging letters, playing soccer, sharing wine, showing photos of their families, etc.  This occurred at a number of locations during the war, and terrified the higher-ups of the military, church, and state. Perhaps this is where Bertolt Brecht came up with his classic observation: “don’t tell me peace has broken out!” As punishment, the units to which the soldiers had been assigned were disbanded, and the offenders sent to the bloodier sectors of the war.

At the end of the film, a Christian chaplain – who aided the soldiers in their peaceful undertakings – was upbraided by his church superior, telling him that he was not truly fit for the chaplaincy.

It’s a great film to purchase and show to your make-believe Christian acquaintances, particularly during the Christmas season.

11:14 am on March 24, 2013