Suffering / victim / sacrifice

List of scenes


SHORT DEFINITION   These pathos scenes share a focus on the soldier’s experience of bodily pain, vulnerability, and dying. The motif of suffering appears in three variations: the victim, the sacrifice, and the scene of suffering.
CONSTELLATIONS  These variations of suffering are created through different constellations of modes of cinematic staging.

Victim: These scenes are about becoming aware of vulnerability and mortality. This image of the victim is usually staged as an unexpected moment of death.

Sacrifice: The soldier’s death is cinematically connected to a greater cause, the army, or the nation. Soldierly sacrifice is portrayed as a heroic death—often the death and the funeral are staged as the renewal of the community. Cinematically, this renewal is linked to reminders of what the corps, the army, and the nation owe to the hero. In this way, the transcendental sense of death is stressed, characterized by the “triumphant sacrifice.”

The scene of suffering: These scenes focus on the suffering individual who experiences himself as a vulnerable and mortal body. The final culmination is the apotheosis of the individual (deification).

AFFECTIVE DIMENSION The affective dimension of these pathos scenes can be found in the sensorial experience of physical pain and vulnerability. The inside view of an indissoluble, irreconcilable experience of suffering characterizes the central pathos of American war films.



Apocalypse Now


Band of Brothers - Episode 1: Currahee


Fixed Bayonets

Guadalcanal Diary

Gung Ho!*

Objective, Burma!


Sands of Iwo Jima*

The Steel Helmet

Tora! Tora! Tora!

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