the crumpled boarding pass fell out my pocket as I fumbled for my keys time away from home makes the heart more distant taking care of self whilst away causes pain to those close distance damages doesn’t always heal departing the breach leaves a gap that could be filled by another or just left empty love and affection forgotten, lost in time through one’s travels this void left …. empty, vacant and alone
This is not a Review!
This is: Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the series 3.5 stars out of 4, writing, “Arguably the best documentary ever made about Hollywood and wartime, Five Came Back is nirvana for movie lovers and a real eye-opener for anyone new to the subject.”
The 3 part mini series on Netflix, Five Came Back explores the experiences of five U.S. film directors – John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens – and their front-line film work during the Second World War, whilst enlisted into various branches of the US Military in Europe and the Pacific. I watched all 3 episodes in one sitting. The producers have then also paired 5 modern day directors and each modern director discusses the impact and legacies of one of the five earlier directors: Steven Spielberg (Wyler), Francis Ford Coppola (Huston), Guillermo del Toro (Capra), Paul Greengrass (Ford), and Lawrence Kasdan (Stevens).
I found the series fascinating, captivating and an emotional journey. Emotional, as it dragged me back to the recollections and memories, from my own experiences in War and years of work in EMS, and the mental stress and PTSD, that those times inflict on us. What they saw and how it changed them, and the reality that came rushing to meet them, in ways they could have never conceived, impacted on their lives forever. Changing the way they saw the world and notably their creative output post the war.
The director George Stevens who before the war used to make romantic comedies never made one again in his life – and the tone of his movies changed, they were thoughtful and dramatic; Giant and The Diary of Anne Frank are two I remember seeing in the 1970’s with my mom …
But this is not a review…. back to how this series made me think and reflect …
A powerful and thought provoking moment came for me in the opening segment of the final episode (3) when, the narrator Paul Greengrass makes this (for me) very heartfelt observation:
“what is the witness that you’re giving to the world that you see out there”
I am still processing the full extent of what this means in the here and know, and how it impacts my life’s journey. The questions and thoughts I have on this are: what type of world do we see out there (as I am sure its different for many of us) and what is the image that we portray to that world. In this frenetic age of social media, where we can choose to live our entire lives in the public eye, dragging out our 15 min of fame to previously unimaginable lengths! And then how does this impact on the witness we bear and the world which we want to see?
Often we are moulded and haunted by a past, we did not always ask for, and facing an uncertain future and unknown destination. Yet even with that uncertainty staring us in the face we soldier forward. The biggest battle, at times is finding our way home or a home.
The section on PTSD of the soldiers and the 5 directors is thought provoking and raises more questions than answers, and another blog post is brewing on this subject and a short documentary film directed by John Houston. The 1946 film; Let There Be Light and its portrayal of soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder led to Let There Be Light being suppressed by the U.S. government; it was not released until the 1980s.
Let me close out with the powerful optimistic hopeful words from a Capra post WW2 film, which was a flop on its release but later became a classic:
The world is not all evil.
Yes, we do have nightmares, but we also have dreams.
We do have villainy, but we also have great compassion.
There’s good in the world.
And it’s wonderful.
Frank Capra – It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
© 2019 michael d emmerich
© 2019 mikesnexus
the house stands all alone on the hill shuttered and drawn I approach in darkness all is locked, silent and dark I seek some way in but to no avail no one answers my knocking a sliver of light at an upstairs window a shadow beckons is this the glimmer of hope that will open the door? I patiently wait …..
© 2018 michael d emmerich
there is life is everywhere it exists, and always has in all that we see there is life even in death, there is life it is light, pushing darkness back fighting those that rail against it in the most unimaginable places life claws out an existence life like hope is the eternal spring that we all desire to sate our thirst long may the well overflow with a never ending river of life
© 2016 Michael D Emmerich
hope arises from a distant past barrenness becomes imperfect storm drought becomes flood passions spring forth engaging in a lust-filled union the expectation of hope is laid bringing with it change pain, discomfort, hope change forcefully thrust onto the unwitting the chaos of evolution darkness waits with expectation the challenge of darkness as hopes journey begins moving from the confines of darkness down the path to the light the waiting hand of light beckons dragging hope to into its arms moving from the known to the unknown hope emerges with a scream it rents the veil of darkness darkness gives birth to a frail hope light enfolds hope in its warm embrace hope like victory is helpless at birth it has emerged into a world fraught with despair pushed out into the world to face life’s challenges history replaces amnesia history is hopes foundation futures are built on memories foundation life is sustained by history’s past the future is moulded by past scribes seasons come and go barren winters pass always followed by springs new life hope always springs eternal from the darkness of winter hope is risky hope is trust onto an uncertain future the belief in the impossible making the improbable possible prepared to face loss, disappointment, betrayal chaos order evolution all merge into the revolution of an emerging fading hope what are we left with but this inscrutable darkness which is our future past this inescapable darkness of new life from a future past the last gasp of hope has not been born yet hope is victory wrenched from darkness’s grasp claim your moment of paradise and then ONWARD
© 2016 Michael D Emmerich