The war in Ukraine continues but for now, the nuclear bomb is cinema heritage

“War Games” (1983), directed by John Badham and starring Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy and John Wood in the lead roles

And you, how did you think World War III was going to start? I say “you”: older adults, adults, young adults, even a young millennial portion. I am not asking members of later generations who probably have not thought of war on a global scale except as a reminiscence of the past or an unfounded fear of the end. It is also possible that they have decided to play Conflict of Nations: WW3a Playstation game that was released to the sea of ​​gamers in February 2022. A timely release, you could say.

However, the older ones will have to remember the spirit of the times and the filmic fictions about nuclear destruction induced by fear during the Cold War. Possibly, a large number of films that showed a post-apocalyptic future through science fiction sublimated the fear of the post-nuclear world, where the survivors of the bomb would live. In this way, the war of machines against humans in terminators 1 and 2 -in particular these two from the saga- showed the climate that the Cold War had fostered, which would culminate in the 1980s and would mark the end of the 20th century in 1989, according to the historian Eric Hobsbawmwith the fall of the Soviet Union.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, protagonist of the saga
Arnold Schwarzenegger, protagonist of the saga “The Terminator” (Photo: REUTERS/Herwig Prammer)

There were also more explicit films, close in time to the nuclear crime of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and which consciously devoted their plot to nuclear war. Brilliantly performed by Peter Sellers (which not only gave life to the US Defense adviser Dr. Strangelove -an Austrian Nazi in cahoots after the German defeat-, the US president and an airline pilot) and directed by Stanley Kubrick, dr.strangelovefrom 1964, shows the beginning of a nuclear war between Russians and Americans that, without abandoning the tone of the comedy not to goa look at the causes of the war is allowed: a gang of Nazis, hallucinated, crazy, careerists, interested and ill-gotten (as corresponds to the political personnel of most nations, of course).

On the Japanese side, that is, on the side of the nuclear victims, it was too early to talk directly about the matter. Hence the virtuosity of Godzillawhich expressed the horror of the bomb and nuclear radiation with the weapons of terror but which allowed a mass public to unwrap, in some way, what had marked them in their psyches, bodies and cemeteries, in the figure of a radioactive monster that left nothing standing.

“The Final Hour” (1959), by Stanley Kramer.

A classic film of the time, from 1959, but not as recognizable despite the great cast it boasts, is the final hourdirected by Stanley Kramer and performed by Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and a young man Anthony Perkins (just before filming Psychosis). The plot places the characters in Australia, the only country where the nuclear shock wave did not reach, as a result of the war. The population knows that he is going to die, most likely, from the advance of the cloud and the plot is mainly focused on how he realizes the next end. How do you live knowing that social death is so close, what is said, what is felt, what is said. Meanwhile, the government hands out suicide pills in what may be a direct antecedent to the excellent 2004 film children of man, by the Mexican Alfonso Cuarón. It is recommended to retrieve the final hour.

But make no mistake: this is not a column that recommends movies. No, not when after 80,000 dead (that is to say, a River stadium piled high with corpses) in the Russian army, invading Ukraine, “partial mobilization” was ruled in Russia, that is, military glee for men up to a certain age up to 300,000 bodies exposed to ammunition from drones, tanks, planes, rifles, shrapnel, NATO weapons in the hands of young Ukrainians who will shoot to kill those others just like them, so young too.

Volodimir Zelensky, President of Ukraine, in one of his frequent appearances by video call
Volodimir Zelensky, President of Ukraine, in one of his frequent appearances by video call

How was World War III going to start? Had they imagined it? A former KGB agent, member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a bureaucrat and, with the capitalist restoration, a member of that mafia oligarchy that governs that enormous country, with an immense and tragic past, is enthroned in power. And he decides that he must stop the conversion of neighboring Ukraine into a logistics base for NATO, especially the United States and Great Britain. Without knowing, or perhaps knowing, and for that very reason, that for 18 years these leading NATO countries have been training the Ukrainian army and stuffing it with state-of-the-art weapons (when such an adjective is used attached to weapons, it means that its virtue is kill more and better).

They also sponsor an ideal president for the World Cup figures, a comedy actor, who in the middle of the war receives a presidential audience ben stiller and who does not hesitate to pose with his wife for the cover of fashion through photos taken by Annie LeibovItz (yes, the great photographer who knew how to portray the tout New York and who is a specialist in capturing the glamor of Hollywood stars). The same president who had a space via zoom at the MTV Awards, live and direct. Behind, the American Democratic Party, the same as bernard sanders (his left wing) gives him, together with the Republicans (in this cause they all march together) billions of dollars to Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian military, while US inflation is at its highest in decades. But what harm can a world war do. Other. A third. Or what benefits can it bring to those interested in it.

A few more titles. War gamesfrom 1983, in which a teenager Mathew Brodderick he’s a computer nerd from that era! who, with a little program, makes the US Department of Defense believe that he is under Russian attack and begins to persecute the unsuspecting hacker. In Red Dawn (1984), two very young charlie sheen Y patrick swayze They are part of a group of young people who witness the Russian military occupation of the US and join the resistance, all very class B but entertaining. The sum of all fears (2002) with Morgan Freeman and agent Jack Ryan in the hands of Ben Affleckat the head of a plot in which a nuclear bomb is sold to an Austrian neo-Nazi while the Russian president is a bit too intransigent for everyone.

“Barefoot Gene” (1983)

But the film to see, necessarily, inescapably, is a 1983 animated film called barefoot genebased on the autobiographical comic by Keiji Nakazawa, who on August 6 was a victim and witness to the atomic bomb dropped by United States aviation on Hiroshima, where the cartoonist lived, and which caused 200,000 deaths, before the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. It is brutal, tremendous, unbearable, visceral to see in animated form the cruel, if not fatal, effects of the attack on children, the elderly, women, dogs, buildings, everything. It meant the end of the Second War. Are there no communicating vessels with the third war?

That is to say, this column is finished writing when from one side and the other they shoot with (discursively, for now) a nuclear arsenal. It is not, therefore, a column about cinema.


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The article is in Spanish

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