It’s morning and the sky is gray with muted colors. The solders have no villain to blame and the greatest longing of everyone is to go home. Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) get called and they take on the mission.
The film’s sole vision of life is a nameless baby in a devastated city. The protagonists have Friendship, Loyalty, Brotherhood and Courage. It isn’t much, but it is what they need to charge past the rats and snipers and barbed wire and dead bodies.
1917 suggests that the audience recall the despair so that today’s challenges are not so oppressive.
Cinematographically, the movie is flowing and continuous. Much of the film is a single continuous shot. Most colors are chosen to have a low saturation. The screen is filled with browns and blacks, tans and grays. The result is a draining sadness.
1917 is full of sadness. The stark beauty of the devastation and the heightened emotions are what make the movie both repulsive and beautiful at the same time. One’s mind absorbs tension and danger from the screen. The bland colors are a muted reminder of how the extraordinary can become ordinary.
The spectacle follows winding trenches and broken walls. As the critical battle is approaching, a soldier is singing an incongruously beautiful song. Then, the urgency is redoubled as the mission might fail despite the herculean journey.
1917 is a really beautiful film. It successfully aspires to be a great work of art.
Don’t go when you want to have fun or to get joy and hopefulness. All I could do by the end was weep in empathy as Schofield looks at his distant family, hoping one day to return. As I listened to the closing credits pass, I was ready for change.
I wish a falling star
would light that perfect candle.
Its wick would consume the darkness
and its fragrance perfume the night.
Faith does not regret its weakness
because its firm foundation is hope.
Our horizons are lighted by its joy
and its love glows all around us.
Each war must end one day
despite their evil power.
If rulers bare their steely eyes,
let our light blind their stare.
The swords of love and faith
can cut them from the story.
They should have no page to find
when history’s book is seen.
We have the tools to light that candle.
We have the pens to write the story.
We have love.
We have faith.
We have joy.
We have hope.
Dear Jimmy Carter,
Although the world loves its money and power, I believe the prayers of a child are a better guide. When they sing, they have no fear. When they hope, how can we explain the hate?
The boy from Cyprus can love a girl from Bogota. The child in Zanzibar could kiss the elders of Harbin.
To find a new world is all they ask: A world where children cry out of love and compassion and not sorrow or fear. It is a world that we can give them. Let no one take it away.
May God bless you this day!
It would be easy to find people willing to condemn ISIS as evil. They would also prosecute people who are beginning to be radicalized to prevent them from supporting the terrorist organization.
However, that quick leap to judgement is not helpful in eliminating terrorism. Once you label an organization as evil, you can get lazy.
By focusing on the evil of ISIS, you don’t need to understand them. In addition to defeating them militarily, we need to combat the political themes they promote. Without understanding why ISIS is attractive to some people, we can’t deny them the thought-virus that they spread.
I never see the grievances and concepts that nourish the ISIS movement. The public message is that they’re evil and that’s all we need to know. We want to prevent radicalization, but don’t try to understand the process as it develops.
When the news reports someone as being radicalized, we can get lazy again. We don’t have to understand what they believe or how they arrived there. We don’t have to see the reasons that they embraced violence and hatred–there’s no reason to see that because we’ve already cast them out. But that’s too late in the process to make a difference.
David Talbot in “Fighting ISIS Online” (MIT Technology Review. Nov. 1, 2015. v. 118, no. 6) describes that contacts from friends and peers can help the propaganda create new recruits. But he also describes that friends and peers can be persuasive in pushing back. It can take a small intervention to be beneficial. The article describes how one-on-one contact was able to reverse a transformation that the FBI was watching from a distance, yet impotent to change.
Working with friends to help them see a different perspective doesn’t let you release sexy rhetoric about our war with ISIS. However, it does help combat the organization one person at a time.
A sympathetic ear and supportive encouragement can work where the pronouncements of the powerful are failing miserably.