War seen through the eyes of Serra, a university student from Palermo who volunteers in 1942 to fight in Africa. He is assigned to the Pavia Division on the southern line in Egypt. Rommel ...
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David L. Cunningham
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War seen through the eyes of Serra, a university student from Palermo who volunteers in 1942 to fight in Africa. He is assigned to the Pavia Division on the southern line in Egypt. Rommel and the Axis forces are bogged down; it's October, the British prepare an offensive. At first, boredom, heat, hunger, and thirst bedevil the Italians; then the Brits attack, and there's no luck or heroism in death. Finally, it's retreat in confusion. Serra, his sergeant Rizzo, and his lieutenant Fiori take a last walk toward home. It's said that each soldier gets three miracles; when Serra's are used up, what then?Written by
The problem with this movie is not so much the movie itself, though the movie does not lack in technical glitches, but rather the historical context in which the story is set. The director tries to tell a story about Italian soldiers in World War Two, suggesting that they are hapless victims of incompetent commanders who basically had them fighting in a hopeless cause, period. This narrow theme produces a two-dimensional story that completely ignores the fundamental reason why the Italians were in the fighting in the first place: to achieve the strategic goals of Adolf Hitler. As a result, this movie is dramatically flat. The Italian soldiers are portrayed as self-sacrificing, suffering and heroic when in fact they were invaders who were brought all their problems on themselves. In an interesting twist, the British are portrayed as faceless automatons who mercilessly drive through the depleted Italian lines, as if it were the British who were the bad guys. That the Italian soldiers were capable of acts of courage on the battlefield is not the question. Rather, the question is why were they fighting in the first place, and any movie, especially a movie that is set in World War Two, that avoids dealing with that question is fundamentally flawed.
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