“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.”
~ William Tecumseh Sherman
I believe Danish writer-director Tobias Lindholm would agree with Sherman’s observations of war. His drama A War is a case in point of the catch-22s every soldier faces on the frontline of the battlefield. Lindholm masterfully moves through the vein of combat as his camera closes in on the emotions of the soldier and the enemy—people military personnel have been dispatched to kill. A War is an in-depth perspective on the perils of conflict, and the film paints a vivid picture of the moral dilemmas each soldier must grapple with; and the decisions a leader determines are in the best interest of the unit. Lindholm’s A War concludes that no matter the good intent, every decision comes a consequence, and these consequences affect those associated with you. Yes, war is hell.
Company commander Claus M. Pedersen, played by Pillow Asbeek, leads men who are fighting in an Afghan province to protect local farmers and their families from attacks from the Taliban. Back in Denmark, Pedersen’s wife Maria, played by Tuva Novotny, manages the home front with their three small children; the eldest suffers separation anxiety over the absence of his father. Back in Afghanistan, Pedersen and his company have been caught in crossfire, and the commander’s is forced to make a decision for the survival of his unit. Pedersen’s call results in heavy penalties.
As would a surgeon, Lindholm, cuts deep into the body of war to dig out and dig up its complexities and to showcase how warfare affects people and their families on and off the battlefield. There are the usual suspects … you know … guns, armored tanks, landmines, grenades, injury, and death; but through the Pedersen Family … Maria, Claus, and children … Lindholm prompts audiences to be aware that at the end of every piece of artillery used in war, there are human beings, and no matter the rules of engagement, at the end of the day, they are just that: human.
A War plays through March 3 at The Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.
Also opening at The Ross is Son of Saul László Nemesh’s film about a Jewish worker at the Auschwitz concentration camp looking for a rabbi to give a child a proper burial.
What would you do if a someone asked to park her vehicle in your driveway … temporarily but then stayed parked for the next 15 years? Nicholas Hytner’s film Lady in a Van explores that question. Set in London, England, the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith plays Miss Shepard, who describes herself as a “sick woman looking for a last resting place”. She camps out in Alan Bennett’s driveway, first as a favor. Of course, if someone stays over 3 days, a relationship is bound to develop. See what happens.
Lady in a Van and another film 45 Years, continue through March 3 at the Ross.