Whenever there has been a war, there have been severe consequences. Losing lives, families, homes are some horrors that people never really get out of even when the war ends.
Cinema has always acted as a mirror for society. There have been some really sensitive and well-made movies that don't glorify conflict but offer up an understanding of the real face of war. They show how armed violence, in the end, brings with it inevitable sorrow, pain, dissolution and destruction.
War films have been a long-standing staple. Depending on the political leanings of the writer/director, these films can portray historical events in ways that endorse the suffering of a citizen during war. Here are some movies:
Grave of the fireflies
Studio Ghibli has managed to become one of the most beloved animation studios in the history of the medium. In their repertoire of mostly-family-fare, the 1988 anti-war tearjerker Grave of the Fireflies stands out. The film is honest-to-God one of the saddest films ever conceived and created, telling the story of a young brother and sister duo trying to survive in WWII-ravaged Japan. Beautifully animated and possessing a singular power about it, the film is a unique entry in the anti-war film genre that manages to be one of its very best offerings.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
A princess in a post-apocalyptic world struggles to rule a country under the threat of a weapon of mass destruction. Though an unconventional genre for a war film, the story beautifully captures the struggle between the natural world and the effects of long war; the nuclear bombs unleashed on Japan in the Second World War forever the backdrop of this film.
Paradise Now: Israel-Palestine
Two childhood friends are both recruited for a suicide mission in the modern Israel-Palestine conflict. The entire film is wrought with the suspense and grit expected from this plot-line, while at the same time navigating the complex moral and ethical arguments against such use of terror.
Beasts of No Nation: West-Africa
Set in the dramatised world of an unnamed West African civil war, this film captures the modern issues of child soldiers in warfare. Due to powerful casting and a tight script, the story captures the intimacy of violence and the complex relationship that emerge when a child is thrust into a violent world.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in North America is a 2008 tragedy film written and directed by Mark Herman. It is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by John Boyne. Set in World War II, the Holocaust drama relates the horror of a Nazi extermination camp through the eyes of two eight-year-old boys: Bruno (Asa Butterfield), the son of the camp's Nazi commander, and Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a Jewish prisoner.
Empire of the Sun
Amid Japan's invasion of China during World War II, Jamie "Jim" Graham is a British upper-class schoolboy enjoying a privileged life in the Shanghai International Settlement. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan begins occupying the settlement. As the Graham family evacuate the city, Jamie is separated from his parents in the ensuing chaos. Jamie makes his way back to their house, assuming they will return.
Come & See
Come and See is indisputably one of the darkest films ever made. The Russian film takes place in the war-torn lands of Belarus as parties of Nazis make their way across the country, destroying anything and everyone in their wake. The film's protagonist is a young boy who is eager to join the Belarusian resistance movement, and upon doing so, is exposed first-hand to the uncanny way war brings out man's cruellest depravity. An unforgettable film that challenges the viewer on nearly every level, the film will stay with you for the rest of your days.
Waltz with Bashir
It is a brilliant one-of-a-kind film based on the graphic novel of the same name. The story utilizes testimony from actual participants in the central conflict to reconstruct the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The film's director is also the film's subject: a man trying to remember his part in the invasion. The film is a damning portrait of the long-term psychological effects of war. Haunting and unforgettable, this film has never been more relevant than in today's tumultuous times.
The Day After
It tells the story of several families whose lives become interconnected when a nuclear exchange decimates small-town America. Families die and fall apart, the government fails, chaos reigns and civilization breaks down and collapses. It's just your typical light-hearted romantic comedy.
Born on the Fourth of July
Probably one of the best works by Tom Cruise, it is a biographical anti-war film that follows the life of Kovic over a period of 20 years. Set in the backdrop of the infamous Vietnam war, it is the second installment in the Vietnam war inspired movie by Oliver Stone. The movie, just like the protagonist, will also change your mind about war by putting forth the bloody consequences of it.