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Film Series : Kael's Causes Célèbres

Casualties of War

1989, Brian De Palma, USA, 112 min.
With Sean Penn, Michael J. Fox

Show Times

  • Sat, Jan 18th 7:45pm
  • Tue, Jan 21st 6:00pm

"A great, intense movie about war and rape...Directed by Brian De Palma, the movie is the culmination of his best work."—Pauline Kael

"The greatest film about the Vietnam War."—Quentin Tarantino

One of Kael's last great causes célèbres was CASUALTIES OF WAR, a film that divided critics and represented a marked change-of-pace for a director whose stylish thrillers she had long championed. Based on a real incident from the Vietnam War, it tells of a American reconnaissance squad, sexually and otherwise frustrated, who are incited by their sergeant (Penn) to kidnap a Vietnamese girl, over the increasingly urgent (and risky) objections of one of the soldiers (Fox). What's remarkable is how many of the characteristic elements of De Palma's thrillers and crime films (ominous p.o.v. tracking shots, split-focus widescreen frames, voyeurism, complicity, lingering guilt, the link between sex and violence, etc.) are adapted so effectively to a very different context, rendering the Vietnam War as an expressionistic nightmare rooted in reality rather than in genre tropes. 35mm widescreen. (MR)

Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com called Kael's review of the film "the greatest one-off movie review ever written for a mainstream publication." You can read his appreciation in this link.

Buy a ticket at our regular prices for WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL, and get a ticket for any one film in the Kael's Causes Célèbres series at this discount rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount price applies to the second film only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)

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