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October 1996, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
susan crutchfield <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 14 Oct 1996 13:47:30 -0400
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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This question is making me think again about the narration from
various points of view (and from different motivating
circumstances) of the "heroic incident" in *Courage Under Fire*.  More
than anything, the multiplicity of narrators and stories suggests that all
points of view are unreliable (especially in a stressful, combat
situation).  The problem of truth--what really happened in the
desert--looms large here.  Of course, the final narrative of the
"incident" is privileged as the truth of what happened--it is the version
of the story used as evidence in persuading the govt. commission to
award Meg Ryan's character a posthumus medal of honor.
A question:
How is this privileging accomplished after point-of-view, and more
importantly the camera's ability to show us one undeniable truth,
has been called into question, perhaps even undermined?
My usual movie-buddies refused to see this film with me, whining "But
isn't that just a rah-rah Desert Storm film?"  What was such a
nice surprise for me in this film was its willingness to deal with and
reveal in its narrative strategies the process through which
contesting narratives and contesting ideologies are constructed into
something as inviolable as government-honored, official "war heroism".
Susan Crutchfield
University of Michigan
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