[Marxism] A letter to Stan Goff plugging Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket"
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Dec 15 23:56:19 MST 2004
First of all, this is to let you know that I was at last Saturday's
meeting and was able to stay for over an hour. It was wonderful. I am
sorry I could not stay to the end and talk to you.
I think what you are doing is absolutely vital. Unfortunately, for the
next few months, the GIs, veterans, and military families may have to
prop up the movement a bit rather than the opposite, which is the way it
should and ultimately has to be. While I expected this to happen
eventually, it never occurred that progress among the soldiers would
advance so quickly as it has. My
Vietnam experience actually made me conservative in this sense.
I want to recommend a movie that I just saw for the first time. I think
it needs to be seen across the country. It is called Full Metal Jacket
-- I suspect you have seen it -- and I will tell you that it is the
finest portrayal of the modern GI war experience there is. The director
is Stanley Kubrick, a very talented guy who died recently but this, in
my opinion, is far and away his finest and one truly great movie. He
often gets credited for Paths of Glory, also a good antiwar movie, but
one based on World War I, when there was still a big proletarian
movement, questions such as fraternization were much more alive and
well, and the idea of whole fronts refusing to fight was a real
Personally, I didn't like Paths of Glory as much as most people,
preferring Robert Aldrich's Attack!, which was more in touch with the
modern experience or even Sam Fuller's patriotic Steel Helmet. But Full
Metal Jacket puts them all in the shade. This movie msut be revived and
shown, and my copy, given to me by a friend for a gift, is available for
copying or local use.
Full Metal Jacket is much closer to what today's GIs are experiencing,
the experiences they are coming from, and how they feel and experience
This movie needs to be seen by military families and veterans. It
might be very good for people with PTSD. If it could be shown in Iraq,
that would be a great experience.
The climactic section where the entire platoon is tied down and
partially massacred in a fight with a single magnificent Vietnamese
woman is absolutely unforgettable. This may be the best modern
political movie since Battle of Algiers. I love the fact that while
inspiring admiration of with this incredibly heroic and self-sacrificing
fighter, the never loses sight of the humanity of the troops, including
of the half-crazed gook-killer who, in the end, can't shoot the woman
who is begging to be finished off. The movie shows his attachment to
his black comrades despite his racism (his declining racism, I might
add). This is a guy who is definitely going to have PTSD, which perhaps
could be better titled Post-Unjust-War-Syndrome.
I know you have probably seen this movie, but I don 't know whether you
have considered its potential as antiwar and pro-GI propaganda.
Thank you for all you are doing,
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