part of the machine...

Overlord, 1975

Stuart Cooper, Dir.

We all think the invasion can’t be far off. It’s like being part of a machine which gets bigger and bigger… while we grow smaller and smaller until there’s nothing left.

These lines from Overlord carry the full weight of the destructive force of war – in terms of the film, the D-Day invasion of 1944 – but that force cannot be confined to any one moment in history. Cooper, who wrote and directed this film at the end of the Vietnam War, stated that though the politics of conflict may change, the nature of war never does. Sound familiar? Loss is loss.

The point of the film is not to instill or exploit heroism, and not to delineate the impact or outcome of the invasion. This is a unique approach. The storyline shows the tragic nature of war – and without being an action film. Cooper, weaving amazing archival footage from the Imperial War Museum into his fictional narrative, creates a seamless story: one young man’s preparation for his tragic end, an end made all the more impacting because of Brian Stirner’s believable interpretation of a young British soldier who knows he is going to die but can only be swept closer to his own inevitable death.

I can think of few films more directly relevant to our set of circumstances in the world. This is a haunting work – a grand mix of beauty, terror, waste, and tragedy.


In April 2007, Overlord was released on DVD by the Criterion Collection.


Arlene said...

this film sounds profound and thought-provoking, sam. i'll have to check it out in the public library.

thanks for sharing clampitt's poetry, too. have added her to my book list.

am currently reading carson's autobiography of red. i think you suggested that, too — i love it!

glad you're enjoying the 'zine,

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the read, Arlene. You'll enjoy both the film and Clampitt's work. Red is great Carson.