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Week 13 - War, Violence, and Modernity II: Civil Violence

There is a group project presentation this week. Alex R., Esther, Nodoka, and Suraj will be presenting. We will be meeting in H0.02 on the ground floor (Library Road end) of the Humanities Building. Will presenters try and arrive a little early in order to get their a/v set up (with the aim of beginning the presentation within five minutes of the start of class).

For those of you not presenting, please attend to the following:

We will be deviating slightly from the course outline. Therefore, please view these two cinematic version of Erich Remarque's seminal novel All Quiet on the Western Front (1929). As you are doing so, consider what messages each version is trying to impart and how each film goes about achieving (or not) their goals and how these differ from the original text. Think about what each film says about ideas like country, nation, duty, and the ultimate harvests of warfare and how such views change in the 40 years between the two films. These films are also powerful sources of memory and memorialization, but each is highly rooted in its own time and deals as much with contemporary issues as with historical ones. Both seek to provide remembrances of conflict yet both possibly stray from Remarque's assertion that his book was not `an adventure', rather `try[ing] simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war'. As a medium, films can also achieve a much wider audience than more traditional forms of memorialzation (cenotaphs, wreaths, services on specific days) but are linked ultimately to the same motives and urges.

The first is the 1930 adaptation, directed by Lewis Milestone. (Available through the Short Loan Collection.)

The second is the 1979 version, directed by Delbert Mann.

It is also useful to review Paths of Glory (1957), directed by Stanley Kubrick. (Available through the Short Loan Collection.)


You could also compare films such as Schindler's List (1993) and Life is Beautiful (1997) and how they deal with their subject.

Finally, the Modern Records Centre has selections of their archival holdings relating to this week's topic available for your use. Click here to access.