At first sight, these pathos scenes are defined simply by the use and integration of documentary material into cinematically staged events. This includes footage of real battles and images of the dead and injured after the battle, as well as of rituals of drill and military daily life.
These scenes do not simply counter the fictional mode with a mode of factualness or authenticity. The documentary images do not add a historical reference to the cinematic images. Rather, the cinematic events are referenced to the documentary images; the latter become fictionally charged—whereby the difference between the kinds of footage is not negated. Thus both documentary and fictional footage—edited into a dense visual memory—aim at the corporeal presence of the viewers, who are given a relationship to the historical events by this documentary footage.
The inconceivability and inhumanity of the documentary footage is made bearable for the viewers through the use of fiction. The characters themselves often take on the role of viewers or witnesses. Their conduct and reactions (verbal, mimic, narrative) create forms of approaching the inconceivability of these images and enable a relationship towards them which again allows for individual, human feelings and actions.
The aim is emotional participation in exactly these documentary images. This takes place in the mode of memories of World War II newsreels, promoting a sense of community that develops through the cinematic staging of a shared memory.