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How I Won the War

How I Won the War is a black farce which, in its basic situation of a group of soldiers rolling out a cricket pitch behind enemy lines, simultaneously exposes the lunacy of war and the obscenity of war movies. Lester defined his task as ‘doing everything in one’s power to say, ‘For God’s sake, don’t use war as entertainment; aren’t you ashamed?” To this end, he uses a variety of alienating devicesotinted images, direct addresses to the camera, actors wandering across actual newsreel footage of World War Twooto eliminate inappropriate involvement and excitement and to prevent easy identification with the characters. The target was not only war or war films but also anti-war films like Paths of Glory which, in Lester’s view, far from being pacifist, merely advocate a way of killing people more humanely.
U.K., 1967.
Colour.
109 mins.

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