I’m a huge student of WWI. Though it’s further removed from most Americans now than its soldiers were from the Civil War, it still has plenty of lessons to teach us about the folly of war.
After last week’s post mentioned four movies that present World War I as unmitigated futility, my inner neurotic started asking “are there great World War I movies that do things differently?” Here, to placate that inner neurotic, are three of them:
3. J’accuse (1919): Filmed in the last weeks of the war by French director Abel Gance, J’accuse [I accuse] is best known for its final scenes where the poet-soldier Jean Diaz, driven mad by shell-shock, conjures up the dead from the battlefield. The corpses return to their former homes to discover that those they left behind have become petty, cheating, faithless people. J’accuse condemns the society which fails to live up to the example of the front-line soldiers, not the generals who fail to find a way out of the military deadlock. This and its apocalyptic imagery make it a cinematic cousin to Henri Barbusse’s wartime novel Le Feu
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