WORLD WAR III

WORLD WAR III OR THE “WAR TO END ALL WARS” ON THE BIG SCREEN


 




Will World War III be the “war to end all wars” that it was thought the war of 1914-1918 would be, only this time in its fatal, definitive incarnation, with no hope of return? Ever since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have known that it is not only civilisations that are mortal, but also the very planet itself.
Unsurprisingly therefore, it is post 1945 that films telling of the tragic and irreversible consequences of a third world war begin to proliferate. American films are naturally the most numerous in confronting this fear, be it through the medium of political films, war films or science fiction. From the mid 60s to the early 80s, the trauma of the Vietnam War took over from this fear. It would take until the 1980s and the Reagan years for the spectre of the Apocalypse to re-emerge. But, having once imagined that apes might be man’s successors, it was now machines that would subdue mankind. More generally, survivors of this disaster would attempt to subsist in a world plagued with barbarity. But other countries are not impervious to this fear of the last battle, of ultimate global defeat: England, with Peter Watkins’ remarkable film The War Game depicting London after a nuclear attack; France, with Chris Marker’s La Jetée, telling the story of a man who travels back in time and comes face to face with his own death, not to mention Luc Besson in his first ever film Le dernier combat (The Last Battle). Russian filmmaker Tarkovsky beckons us to a post-apocalyptic metaphysical reflexion in his landmark film The Sacrifice. The small survey offered here is but a sample of a vast and ever-growing cinematographic repertoire… if not for the best at least for the jest when it comes to Team America.

Olivier Broche

 

THE FILMS



TWELVE MONKEYS
(1995), by Terry Gilliam - USA

RED DAWN (1984), by John Milius - USA

THE WAR GAME (1965), by Peter Watkins - UK

WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005), by Steven Spielberg - USA

LA JETÉE (1962), by Chris Marker - France 

THE BUNKER OF THE LAST GUNSHOTS (1981), by Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet - France

THE LAST BATTLE (1983), by Luc Besson - France  

OFFRET (1986), by Andreï Tarkovski - UK/Sweden/France

CHILDREN OF MEN (2006), by Alfonso Cuaron - USA/UK

TEAM AMERICA : WORLD POLICE (2004), by Trey Parker & Matt Stone - USA/Germany

THE TERMINATOR (1984), by James Cameron - USA

















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