Art in the Face of War
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(May 22, 2009)
Eight World War II Veterans/Artists recount their service experience and their use of art for journalism, as a tactical tool and as a way to preserve their own sanity. Covering all branches of the military (including the once top-secret Deception Corps), their powerful imagery will enlighten, challenge, even amuse; showing that war is indeed hell but that creativity and hope can exist in the face of destruction. In addition to the award-winning film, Art in the Face of War, the DVD also has compelling bonus material: over 90 minutes of additional footage including a slide show of the artwork, a multitude of entertaining stories from the Veterans/Artists on their wartime experience and a special section with their poignant thoughts on today's war. For more information, go to http://artinthefaceofwar.com/
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Whether your primary interests revolve around the arts, or basic public interest stories, or stories of WWII, or of veterans, this film is a warm, touching, poignant tale, told of former US soldiers who were official artists during and right after that major conflict, told in their own words, you are bound to be captivated by this lovely film.
All the artists featured are, in many ways, fairly ordinary people, but that makes their wartime stories that much more fascinating.
What is completely extraordinary is their works of art, on prominent display here. Whether the medium is paint, pencil, charcoal, or camera, all of these images remind me, in the best way possible, of the work of Goya, perhaps the ultimate artist of humankind's war against itself. The men in this film were, like most young men in times of war, far from ready to confront the inhumanities they were bound to witness, but their craft and vision as artists perhaps helped them to survive, and definitely helps us to understand history and war just a little bit better.
Creatives, students, historians, educators, and people serving or planning to serve in the armed forces should definitely check this film out. It's smart, tasteful, and very beautiful.
The images: paintings, drawings and photographs these men made - mostly during wartime - are hauntingly poignant, and the spellbinding interviews with the men sharing affecting accounts of their experiences in the war and their thoughts about their lives, their work and being an artist are equally moving and fascinating.
That this is a generation of solders unaccustomed to sharing their every thought and action on some social media platform makes this invitation to view their world all so much more profound and meaningful. There is nothing else like this film. It’s an absolute treasure.