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H.Getachew- Saving Private Ryan and Postway Memory in America

The reading, Saving Private Ryan and Postway Memory in America by John Bodnar argues the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan by director Steven Spielberg intensely depicts the “brutality of the war? while protect the “image of the American Soldier? (805) Spielberg remembers parts of the war and neglects the rest.

Bodnar explains the war movies of the 1940’s glorified “collective goals over individual one.? The images showed and promoted individual sacrifice for the American people. The American soldiers were represented as the good guys, who don’t want war but are fighting the evils to protect the American freedom for all. The images hardly showed any brutality or death. Hollywood was required by the OWI to make pro-war movie that showed America in a positive image. But the movie Private Ryan “does not say that personal sacrifice is glorious as does or free of death and trauma.? (817) This kind of challenging common war movies ideas started in the 1950’s. During that time the American public started to question war. It became more comprehensible that war was devastating and meaningless. In Noir films Americans can see how they can be just as evil as the enemy. It looked how mankinds acted in time of war, regardless of nationality.

Private Ryan focused on “moral individuals rather than by democratic reforms? (808) The movie exams the pain and the tram of the soldiers and the sacrifices they made, but it follow it up with a larger message that they did not die in vain. “The pain of the American combat soldier is revealed but is ultimately placed within a larger frame of patriotic valor. (806) Bondnar agues that movie looks at the war in a context of individual behavior instead of the larger ideas and values of war. Director Spielberg choice this method of remembering the past in a more individualized way, because of “the conservative politics of the film? I agree with Bodnar that by glorifying the soldiers in movies like Saving Private Ryan, to some degree it also glorifies the war.

I think Hollywood has come a long ways since the 1940 in its depiction of war movies, but there are still some topics that are not covered in the movie because of fear. There are only a few movies at this time on Iraq war and it has been 5 years still not one popular film that directly address the war and the American foreigner policy. Like the movie Saving Private Ryan, the mainstream American media is looking at the war in individual stories like soldiers and the family they left behind, but afraid to challenge the war itself.