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The Deterritorialization of War in American Cinema

The history and evolution of the American War Film


In the past few decades, American war movies have shifted away from their country of origin. While films such as Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper are shaped by American soldiers' experiences overseas, the films don't connect those experiences to their cultural and historical contexts. Essentially if one changed the names of the countries involved, the story would be mainly unaffected.  My Capstone also asks the question, "What makes these films American?"

My essay originally revolved around how other cultures perceive certain films and ideas, but after reading A Post-National Spanish Imaginary A Case Study: Pan's Labyrinth by Fransisco Sánchez my focus shifted specifically to War, Cinema, and Deterritorialization. Deterritorialization is when events, people, or political practices are separated from their country of origin. Sanchez argued Pan's Labyrinth was a deterritorialized film because the rebels of that film were not the Spanish Republic and remained unnamed. It was more a film about a family surviving under fascism, something that is not specific to Spain. To Sanchez, "The displacement from the nation permits us to raise important considerations regarding the current status of the notion of Spanish as a brand in the marketing of cultural issues." and I applied the same thought process to the notion of American.


 Since this topic deals with some abstract concepts. I chose my product to be a short story. It's about a screenwriter in the near future, where war films can no longer use the names of real countries. The screenwriter must get his film vetted by a Department of Defense operative. Through storytelling, I explain the complicated concept of deterritorialization.


The story is about a washed-up screenwriter named  Miles Vidovimas and is set in the United States during the 2030s. Recently, a law was passed prohibiting the depiction of real-world armies and countries in war films. Vidovimas sees this as an opportunity to capitalize on the controversy and return to stardom. He writes a script for a war film, Solid Conflict. Vidovimas plans to meet with a Media Optics Examiner from the Department of  Defense, in order to get the film greenlit to find a producer.


You can find the full short story through this link: 

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