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Salvador. Politics in Film Braunwarth. Salvador. Oliver Stone Film, 1986 Based on real life experiences of journalist Rick Boyle covering the brutal civil war in El Salvador in the early 1980s Many of the events actually occurred: Killing of Archbishop Romero Attack on the nuns

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Salvador

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Salvador l.jpg

Salvador

Politics in Film

Braunwarth


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Salvador

  • Oliver Stone Film, 1986

  • Based on real life experiences of journalist Rick Boyle covering the brutal civil war in El Salvador in the early 1980s

  • Many of the events actually occurred:

  • Killing of Archbishop Romero

  • Attack on the nuns

  • Massive killing by paramilitary death squads (with U.S. military and financial support) and dumping of bodies at El Playon

  • By 1984 65,000 civilians were killed and

  • 750,000 fled the country, 500,000 ended up in the U.S.


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Salvador

  • Note the frenetic music and visuals (especially in the opening scene) to create tension

  • Note the differences in color, lighting, mood when covering the rebels in the countryside and the military in the cities


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Salvador

  • Note how the Reagan Doctrine led to our involvement in El Salvador

  • The characters in Salvador each epitomize different perspectives about the means and the ends U.S. foreign policy

  • Richard Boyle?

  • That we should not hurt others in the pursuit of an ideology

  • Jack Morgan, Col. Hyde, and Reagan?

  • We need to be vigilant in our fight against communism or the communists will take over

  • We can’t be distracted by concerns like human rights


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Salvador

  • Note the contrasting perspectives of Archbishop Romero and Major Max

  • What does Romero represent?

  • The concerns of the poor and the needy who are just trying to survive

  • Why is he considered a subversive?

  • His concerns interfere with the goals of the U.S. and the fight against communism

  • What is the purpose of Major Max in the film?

  • That the U.S. is willing to support a fascist thug if it furthers our goals


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Salvador

  • Contrast the morality of Boyle and Doc with the more well-polished U.S. citizens

  • What message is Stone trying to send?

  • That personal private morality is a private affair and much less important than our public morality toward others

  • How do the motives of Pauline the TV journalist contrast with those of photo-journalists Richard Boyle and John Cassidy?

  • Pauline is only concerned about ratings by Boyle and Cassidy want to get out the truth

  • Reminiscent of what other films what other films we’ve seen?

  • What does this say about the information we receive from the mass news media?


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Salvador

  • Again, note the use of a reporter to carry the storyline in both Green Berets and Salvador

  • Both undergo something of a catharsis

  • In the Green Berets the reporter comes to adopt the U.S. position

  • In Salvador, Boyle becomes less egocentric and more concerned with the plight of others

  • How does this reflect the theme of the film?

  • That we need to worry about the well being of those we are supposed to be helping


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Salvador

  • Why the references to Vietnam throughout the film?

  • Again the need to fight communism and that El Salvador might be a similar quagmire (it wasn’t)

  • Is our current conflict in Iraq more like El Salvador or Vietnam?

  • The level of troop involvement in a country without a functioning government is more similar to the situation in Vietnam

  • One pentagon proposal calls for U.S. special forces to train Iraqi para-military units (patterned after the ones in El Salvador) to prosecute the war for us (like in El Salvador)


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