The aspect of real world conflict and the perceptions of an era can sometimes be caught in art but it is always the texture of perception that determines through what lens the emotion and drama is captured. in “6 Days: The Incredible Story Of D-Day’s Lost Chapter” [Robert Vendetti/Vertigo/148pgs]”, the author examines a small piece of Operation Overlord (which was used for a different effect in the movie of the same name). In this story, when many regiments are dropped over France, they miss their target but converge on the small town on Graignes. The story is of them trying to hold off the German assault until they can be relieved from the American forces coming from the coast. While some of the imagery, especially during the firefights is quite good with out being gory, it is the intersection of the small moments that connect, whether it be some of the young woman listening outside a church to the men inside who take initiative themselves to the simple happiness inside a mess hall just to get some warm food. There is an essence to the humanity. One part that works very well though it tends to play a little melodramatic is the aspect of the families back in America praying in a church in sadness while the soldiers and the local villagers in Graignes convene in the church in hope. The hope doesn’t last long and the texture of war and just surviving takes hold. In all actuality, the actual overrunning of the troops is more alluded to rather than shown as an overall stampede of German troops. But what the battle does offer is the perspective of war but also the psychological toll at points on a textured level. “6 Days” shows a direct and plain view of the lost memories of war before everything was laser guided. World War II was a war unlike any other and even a brief glimpse into the minutiae of the day allows for a window into the time.
By Tim Wassberg
The essence of mainstream Chinese cinema reflects in certain values and textures of the mythic. In Brothers, the ideal reflects back in the war in the 1920s between the nationalist and the communist factions in China. While the ideology is not specifically addressed, the specific story is integrated between two brothers indoctrinated into the army but ultimately through circumstance they find themselves on separate sides. The filmmaking structure of the technology according to the behind the scenes bonus features began in 2010 and the film was purely made on a stage with green screen. The look of the film reflects that mostly of “Sin City” and, to a lesser point, “300” (made in 2005 and 2006 respectively). Creating whole battle sequences on water and on mountains in this way is interesting but obviously labor intensive as the film didn’t come out until 2016. The conflict involves the older brother Wang and the younger brother Chen coming to terms with the men they have become and their loyalty to those they serve. The underlying narrative structure involves Chen being assigned after a particularly brutal battle to escort some female musicians to a place called High City for a performance. His brother, now part of an assassin squad, finds them and their conflict of ideals begins. While the dialogue is very matter of fact, the texture of the relationship makes definite sense as it does rouse to an almost blindsided conclusion until the resolution is structured. The bonus features also speak to the two actors’ approach to their perspective characters but the enclosed trailer does give away too much of the plot. “Brothers” shows the continually evolving market’s ability to try new things while remaining in certain element of mythic themes resonant to the individual.
By Tim Wassberg