Since a young Italian girl, the impact of the aftermath of WWI and WWII, into music and cinema took my attention. It goes without saying, that also justifies why I am running this website in english, British and American cultures still have a huge influence on the Italian mood.
Something that was so evident, for example, was the massive musicals after WWII. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Fred Astaire were the leading Hollywood stars of a joyful, but yet moving and educational movie making. They were made to convey a message of hope and spirit up lifting after misery, loss and grief.
Today wars are dispatched all over the world, and governements name them “Peace Missions to bring democracy“. Words are important, they give a meaning to thoughts. Modern wars are lasting fifteen years? Ok, I will keep my thought silent for respect to deployed, right? But my reflection goes to music then. Which impact do these ‘missions’ have on our social and civil environement, today? None.
Movies …very good for action which guys are keen on, and then videogames. Outburst of violence which lead fragile minds to no sense. True story, I was driving through a Normandy highway, visiting Omaha, and Sainte-Mère-Eglise, when my ex boyfriend (for a reason) told me excited as a cow “Look at that, I have already been there!!!” “What you mean?” “Yes, I fell out an helicopter with my riflegun and shot all those fu*kers around on these plains.” He was serious, and seriously damaged on his cells brain. This is it. Parisian region, and especially suburbs, are made of young vulnerable minds lost in a combat videogame. What’s the purpose? None.
Before there was PTSD there was shell shock and combat fatigue and Gene Kelly’s Combat Fatigue Irritability.
by Michael Sappol
Combat Fatigue Irritability was made during World War II as a “naval training film” (although, unlike most military training films, there is very little training going on in this film). First screened in 1945, it was probably only shown to two select groups: men who were being treated in military facilities for what was then called “combat fatigue” (a category that eventually gave rise to our term, “post-traumatic stress disorder“); and to health professionals who treated such men. It was a “restricted” film, only for military viewing. After the war it was forgotten. It has never received any attention from film historians, and very little from fans (a few of whom did know of it but never got to see it). It is missing from the Gene Kelly…
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In loving memory of one of my fave war journalists ever. There are Vietnam and Cambogia reporting, but in Italian. Those of you who speak my home language, go for it, on You Tube. This is with English subtitles.
As you set out for Ithaca
hope that your journey is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare sensation
touches your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon – you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope that your journey is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind –
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and learn again from those who know.
Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so that you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.
Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.