Headline: Afghanistan: the war that film forgot
Sub-headline: The screen’s neglect of the conflict illustrates the modern incapacity for despair
François Truffaut denied the very possibility of an antiwar film. Put telegenic actors in uniform and you are halfway to tacit glamorisation. Well-lit explosions do the rest. Jarhead, in which soldiers watch an almost erotic screening of Apocalypse Now, makes the point in meta style.
Truffaut’s ‘Films in My Life’ was the work of a film enthusiast, he shared his love of cinema, with the reader: it is engaging and wins the admiration of that reader. But the Cahiers du Cinéma, The 1950sNeo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave, edited by Jim Hillier and Andre Bazin’s ‘What Is Cinema?’didn’t match what Truffaut offered in his book, even though he contributed to that ‘Cahiers du Cinéma, The 1950’s. The above just some observation on Truffaut’s milieu. Not forgetting Andrew Sarris and his 1962 comment on the Auteur Theory, with part of a reply by Peter Wollen.
Instead of confronting the utterly mendacity of the Neo-Con war mongering ethos, or its mendacious political actors, that brought Afghanistan and Iraq Wars into being, Mr. Ganesh chooses to denature it, by way of making the central focus of his argument about Hollywood’s disinterest in this war. The reader confronts Mr. Ganesh’s final paragraph, awash in an angst, that acts as not a very well thought out apologetic, for these acts of criminality!
This, in the end, is what the big screen’s relative neglect of the Afghan war comes down to. The modern incapacity for despair. Most wars connote glory (the second world war) or folly (Iraq), either of which is a guide to future action. This one was not a teachable moment so much as an extended riddle. It was right to go in and it was hopeless to go in. We have to leave and it is rash to leave. As didactic a medium as film was always going to be at a loss with such ambiguity. The rest of us are in for much more of it.