In honor of Memorial Day we have two films that explore the fighting spirit and its impact on the lives of brave men in combat. Both tap into the heart of what makes us human by showing wartime scenarios layered with complexities.
For aviation fans, get ready for a ton of wonderful archival footage coming your way in William Lorton’s Spitfire 944. A true-life story, Lorton has discovered rare 16mm footage of a 1944 spitfire crash and tracks down the pilot, now an 83-year-old World War II veteran to show him the footage. The early parts of this film consists of wartime remembrances and nostalgia for days gone by. The elderly pilot recalls his time spent with his comrades and explains the basic information involved with his aircraft. What he doesn’t know is that he is about to see, for the first time in his life, footage of his own crash. When the camera captures the man’s honest reaction to what he’s viewing, the greater theme at work is suddenly revealed in a flash. The result is an affirming, honest portrait of a man confronted with his past.
Lest we forget the old adage “War is Hell,” successful commercial director Paola Ameli brings us rushing directly into the maelstrom with highly stylized production value and bracing emotional intensity. Rosso Fango (translated to “Red Mud”) begins deep inside a mud hole in no man’s land during World War I. A British soldier is trapped inside with imminent danger around him. Scared and alone, he is running out of options. Suddenly, an enemy comes hurtling down upon him. Our man acts quickly and connects with his bayonet. But as the soldier begins to sputter and expire, our hero is faced with startlingly moral choice. Based on a frightening true story that you won’t believe until you see, Rosso Fango details the ways in which a simple act of compassion can alter the entire course of human history.