Modern war is based on such qualities as distance and speed. Filmmaking, on the other side, is all about patience and “getting closer” - or, at least, trying to find a fair spot (both physically and morally) between us and the ones which are being filmed. So, how can both filmmaking and modern war get along together? The question raised presupposes two possible answers, but we already know that only one of them is right: modern war is no business for filmmakers. Having said this, we can only assume the heavy conscience of being rather too late (most likely) or too soon, but never on time… It might even be possible that the work of filmmakers concerning modern war relies only on the aspect of ruins, which means providing a trace of a trace and never the actual happening.
Would it be possible nowadays to make an honest film like The Spanish Earth based on an actual conflict? Unfortunately, I’m afraid we can only expect something like Germany, Year Zero (which is being far too optimistic, by the way).
Still from Germany, Year Zero (1948)
Ruins of the National Library of Bosnia and
Herzegovina in Sarajevo (1992)
By Pedro Tavares