"Shut Up and Send Me More Pigs to Kill!": Contemporary WWII Film
After the recent seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II and with new films centered on World War II emerging, the implications of these popular, contemporary representations in American culture seem pertinent to investigate. Several contemporary and popular films depict the sheer violence and implied heroism from this war: Saving Private Ryan (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), the mini-series Band of Brothers (2001), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Defiance (2008), Valkyrie (2008), and The Monuments Men (2014). In addition, new movies were added to the already abundant collection of Holocaust films: The Zookeeper's Wife (2017), The Book Thief (2013), The Reader (2008), and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008). Films have also emerged for the under-represented groups of World War II, such as the Tuskegee airmen in Red Tails (2012) and the tank convoys in Fury (2014).
This roundtable questions how film shapes or continues American ideals or mythos about World War II. For example, in Fury, the character Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) yells, “Shut up and send me more pigs to kill!” in reference to the Germans. This quote captures the essence of graphic violence juxtaposed against the implication of heroic acts; or, in other words, the implication of American heroism in fighting the "good war" against Nazi Germany. In contemporary films about World War II, what does the graphic imagery convey about the war experiece (aside from the historical understanding that World War II was a casualty-laden war)?
Such questions that might emerge from a lively discussion among participants may be:
What are the implications of the renewed interest in World War II stories? What thematic approaches in mainstream World War II films exemplify or enhance American ideals or mythos?
Please send a brief abstract or outline for a 5-10 minute presentation (the roundtable format) to Brittany_Hirth@uri.edu by September 30, 2017.