Just Saw the film "Atonement" this afternoon. Thoroughly loved it. What I am wondering right now is what is it about a war that makes it a perfect background for love. "Live your life like it's your last day on earth", is that it? The urgency? , the impending separation?, the continuing separation?, the possible end of separation ? I do not know, perhaps one or all of those. As much as I love romantic comedies, candy floss movies, I have noticed that many of the ones which Touch you somewhere deep down are often related to a war- Troy ( Hector, Achilles, Briseis, I am hooked whenever it's on air), Casablanca , The Reader, Atonement, add to the list. I am sure you can.
When Robbie in "Atonement" is sent to war, and the story shifts it's focus from a drama-love story to one that depicts the perils of the soldiers awaiting evacuation, then the scenes at the hospital featuring the wounded soldiers, made me wonder, was the War a gimmick? Why use the war ? It could have been a touching love story without the War? but then could it? perhaps not. The complete senselessness of it, the absurdity of the lives lost, the sub-human conditions that humanity tolerates, conditions that sends a shiver down our spines when we imagine it. It has a thrill, a sadistic thrill.
About to go off topic now ....
The number of films made about the Second World War perhaps is the greatest. There is a thrill about the holocaust. Humanity is outraged, humanity is violated , we watch the films on that pretext but isn't there an element, a tiny element of thrill? A perverse thrill involved when we even think of a gas chamber? don't we wonder "how was it moments before you know you are going to be gassed or incinerated alive?" , " could I have tolerated such living conditions?" Don't know about others but I surely find myself thinking on these lines.. The improbability of those circumstances now, the remoteness of it from the world where I'm watching a "Schindler's List" on TV , snug in my bedroom-protects me and enables me to think about the events.... to analyze... In that thinking isn't there something perverse? I think perhaps there is.
Loved ALL the films though : Schindler's List, The Pianist and last but not the least "The Reader" (The scene where Ralph walks through the empty concentration camp through rows and rows of shoes makes one shiver more than many thrilling scenes and high blown rhetoric)