Paths of Glory (1957)
When soldiers in WW1 refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superiors decide to make an example of them - The 1957 film that established Stanley Kubrick's reputation, adapted by Kubrick, Calder Willingham, and Jim Thompson from Humphrey Cobb's novel about French soldiers being tried for cowardice during World War I. Corrosively antiwar in its treatment of the corruption and incompetence of military commanders, it's far from pacifist in spirit, and Kirk Douglas's strong and angry performance as the officer defending the unjustly charged soldiers perfectly contains this contradiction. The remaining cast is equally resourceful and interesting: Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Ralph Meeker, and the creepy Timothy Carey, giving perhaps his best performance. Banned in France for 18 years, this masterpiece still packs a wallop, though nothing in it is as simple as it may first appear; audiences are still arguing about the final sequence, which has been characterized as everything from a sentimental cop-out to the ultimate cynical twist. 86 min A Very Long Engagement (2004)
Tells the story of a young woman's relentless search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One. - The film is both a whimsical love story featuring, brown-eyed "Amelié" star Audrey Tautou at her most adorable, and a nitty-gritty depiction of the horrors of trench warfare. It is a very bad mix. Before the end of the war, Mathilde receives word that her fiancé Manech (Gaspard Ulliel) is one of five wounded soldiers who have been court-martialed and pushed out in no man's land between the French and German armies: an almost certain death. Mathilde, of course, does not believe. If he were dead, she would know. Thus begins one woman's extraordinary quest to discover the truth. In her very long journey, Mathilde receives numerous accounts of Manech's last days. She also meets all sorts of wounded...
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