Bill/kiln SUIl/U’I'S. liovvev'er. gains immediate entry. Why"? Becatise at its heart there is disease. insanity. but above all. humanity.
Not for one moment does the lilm ptill the y'avvning liberal card. liach and every character in the film is
driven by boredom. hedonism and greed; questions of
vvar's ultimate futility do not even come into it. Irrev'erence. disobedience and an aching temptation to burn the national flag do.
[fulfil/(l SU/r/lr'liv' is the dislitlll echo of Joseph lleller's pledge in ('iiii'li 32 that: ‘l'd like to see the government get out of vvar altogether and leave the vvhole field to private industry.‘ lilvvood and his gang have a free reign of their little kingdoms until the sanctimonious Sgt Robert Lee (Scott (ilennl steps in to play the alma mater.
l.ee ltas a bug so far tip his arse about lilvvood‘s involvement with his daughter Robyn t.-\nna l’aquinl that he is willing to rock tltis tranquillised. tribalistic world to its very roots. The reactionary military hero gets to piss on ev'eryone's bonlire and their free market dreams.
l’nsurprisingly‘. Build/o .S'o/i/ii’rv died a death in the [S having made its first screen outing at the 'l‘oronto Film Festival on S September letll. Three days later. any l'S distribution deals were off. .-\lthough it did eventually get shovvn on selected screens. it tanked. By that point. (ieorge W Bush vvas vvilling the corpse of
14 THE LIST 3 "
EVERY CHARACTER IN THE FILM IS DRIVEN
BOREDOM, HEDONISM AND GREED
Clockwise from top left: M‘A‘S'H, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Three Kings and Dr Strangelove
(ieneral .\lac.«\rtliur and the rest ol the American public to rise from daisy age graves and go on a killing spree. No one vvantcd to be seen to get behind such a virulent. flagrant abuse of celluloid. All this. of course. makes this very special little movie all the tnore a thing to cherish to us litiropeans vv ho have never been backvvards in coming l‘orvvards to rubbish the one and only modern superpovv er.
:\ film that is fuelled vvith this level of dissent and .\'iet/schean ardour is indeed rare in the [S indie scene. Its like has not really been seen l’l‘lii'r'i' King's is a possible l'lavv ed c\ceptionl since the last time .-\nterican politics vvent this far to the right. a time that \[Nll out a diaspora ol disaffected liillnmakers vvlto changed our lives forever. noticeably l.umet. l’cckinpah. .-\|tman. .'\shby and Scorcese. to name btlt a levy.
We can only pray that Jordan's lilm reignites something akin to mayhem in llolly vvood's depiction of its military a pipe dream for sure but one bursting vv ith the linest sensemillia. .-\s for lllL'. l.\L‘ \L‘L‘ll lllls [k‘tll'l (ll? Lt llllll tvvice and \Hlllld lslll it guard in peacetime to see it again.
()nly Sgt Bilko could stop me.
Buffan Soldiers opens on Fri 18 Jul at the Cameo, Edinburgh and selected cinemas. It will be reviewed next issue.
THE ANTI- WAR GAME
Dr Strangelove is the daddy of all anti-war movies, but here are five of the best from four different wars. Words: Paul Dale
.i. Big Wednesday Three male friends follow the surf around America over ten years as age and war (Vietnam) slowly get the better of them. Director John Milius' huge perSOiial epic is a toy. despite his occasionally strong reactionary urges. The scenes With Jean Michel Vincent. Gary Busey and William Katt at the draft office are superb.
M'A'S'H Korea Head Vietnam)
I ~ and war in general get a good kicking in Robert Altman's take on Ring Lardner Jr's script. The screenplay had been turned down by a dozen directors. but Altman Siphoned it through his ensemble cinematic style. This film started a bloodline that led to TV franchise and ultimately (via Sgt Bilko) to Buffalo Soldiers.
Paths of Glory/La Grande Illusion Two brilliant films that brilliantly condemn the role of the French military authorities in WW1. The former. Kubrick's 1957 tale of the court marshalling and execution of three blameless privates. was banned in France for 18 years. La Grande Illusion was roundly misunderstood at the time of its release as being a humane indictment of war. It was. of course. anything but.
Come and See Elem Klimov's masterpiece. set in 1943 in Soviet Belorussia concerns itself with Florya. a boy partisan left behind by his unit in the move towards Nazi Europe. Poetic and deeply moving. this is a waking nightmare of disorienting proportions. Virtually unwatchable in parts as Florya witnesses death. destruction and mayhem all around him.