Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Decision to Leave

An apology is in order.  When I wrote this blog I thought it was nominated for an Oscar, but I was wrong.  Some critics had said it should have been nominated.  Having read much hype about the movie and actually having seen it I feel it is worthy of prestigious awards which in fact it has already won such as Cannes and  Bafta.

 "Decision to Leave" (2022 has been short listed for the upcoming Oscar awards.  It has already won a director's award at the recent Cannes Festival.  A big draw seems to be the director and co-writer, Park Chan-wook.  More on him later, but first a bit on the film itself.

Hae-jun is described as an insomniac detective asked to investigate the death of a man fallen from a rock climbing site.  It seems simple enough, but when Hae-jun and his partner Soo-wan approach the widow, Seo-rae with the news she takes it too calmly and arouses suspicions. We learn that Seo-rae is an immigrant from China only allowed to stay in Korea because her Grandfather had been a Korean independence fighter  We also learn that she killed her mother with fentanyl pills as requested.  Hae-jun rules her husband's death a suicide, but Soo-wan is not convinced and later Hae-jun encounters more suggestive evidence, but decides to cover it up.

He is fascinated by Seo-rae, but the script goes 13 months in advance.  Hae-jun's wife worked at a nuclear facility in Ipo allowing her to visit only once a week.  Hae -jun decided to move in order to be closer to her.  He meets Seo-rae with a new husband,  Ho-shin, an investment banker.  The next day he is found dead at the family pool.  Certainly suspicious, but more complicated.  Hae-jun agrees to help, but his wife has had enough and leaves.

Along the way  a few unusual scenes.  A few are devoted to insects crawling around and in dead bodies to demonstrate how grotesque a policeman's job can be.  Rock climbing to provide some perilous action on slippery surfaces and also to demonstrate how thorough the police can be.  A theme is the role of sleep with various discussions of what works, but Seo-rae has her own methods.  Mist was one of the requirements to create the right mood and Ipo fits the bill.

A memorable quote:  "Killing is like smoking; only the first time is hard."  

To put together requires a lot of talent.

Start with Park Chan-wook. the director and co-writer.  The DVD special features and Wikipedia were very interesting.  Known for sex and violence, but for this he has toned down (not eliminated) both elements.  He commented that audiences remember the violence, but romance is a big part of what he offers.  Humor plays a big role, but he tries to make sure it can be understood by an international audience.  The best humor reminds the audience of their own experience.  Humor off negative emotions causes confusion.   He studied philosophy in university and while there formed a cinema club.  His first film efforts were not successful and he had to write film reviews to survive.  However, "Joint Security Area" (2000) was the highest grossing Korean film to date and was critically acclaimed.  He has won numerous awards.  His film credits include "Oldboy" (2003)"Thirst" (2009), "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (2002),  "Lady Vengeance" (2005), "Snowpiercer" (2013) and "The Handmaiden" (2016). 

His co-writer Chung Seo-kyung has helped him on all his features since 2005.  She got his attention winning a short film contest juried by him. She has done a few other projects on her own, including most recently a tv. series. Their collaboration has evolved and now essentially involves a discussion, then she does a first draft and then the two get together with two monitors and two keyboards and make revisions simultaneously.  At one time she wrote female roles, but now it is difficult to tell which wrote either of the male or female roles.  Chan-wook usually polishes the final script.

Music is composed by Jo Yeong-wook.  He has been a prolific award winner including for this film.  "The Handmaiden" (2016) if one of my very favorite film scores.  Other credits include "Oldboy" (2003), "Glove" (2011),  "The Attorney" (2013), and "The Tiger" (2015).

Kim Ji-yong, the cinematograher is another prolific award winner including for this film.  His film credits include "Miss Granny" (2014), "The Age of Shadows" (2016), "Okja" (2017) and "Swing Kids" (2018).

Editing was done by Kim Sang-beom, another big award winner, including for this film.  Some of his other credits include:  "Oldboy" (2003), "The Throne" (2015) and "The Handmaiden" (2016)

Park Hae-il plays Hae-joon.  He has also won a lot of awards including for this film.  His film credits include "Memories of Murder" (2003)

Tang Wei plays Seo-Rae.  She is a Chinese actress married to a Korean actor/director.  She is still another big award winner including for this film and in Chinese and Korean films.  Her screen credits include "Lust, Caution" (2007).

Lee Jung-hyun plays Jeong-ahn and also has won some acting awards, but is perhaps better known as a pop singer across Asia.

 Teo Yoo plays Lee June and has a surprising background.  He was born and educated in Germany and went to the U.S. and Britain for acting training.   He recently played the male lead in "Love to Hate You"  (2023).  Another film credit is "Chocolate" (2019).

Difficult to predict which film will win the foreign film Oscar, but sorting through the top nominations assures some entertaining high quality productions.

Note:  I have bolded the first mention of movies I have seen.  In this film there was a great deal of interaction between cast and crew indicating a high level of talent.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Slouching Towards Utopia

 J. Bradford DeLong is a economics historian trying to explain how society got to its present stage.  After looking at events and statistics he concluded that our real wealth growth revolves around 1870 to 2010.  He makes a strong case.  There was lots happening before 1870.  We went from hunter gatherers, to manufacturers, developed a variety of complex cultures.  As a civilization we did make progress, but the author points the average person in terms of wealth, income, nutrition, longevity made only marginal progress.  However by 1870 many events have piled on top of one another and the average person does gain a share in an increase of global wealth.  Technology developed in fits and starts, but the population grew faster than wealth until 1870.

Slouching refers to the fact that much progress is diverted away from the idea of utopia.  Global wealth grows, but is not fairly distributed.

 Robert Malthus espoused the theory that mankind would breed so fast that we would annihilate ourselves with overpopulation.  In practicatl terms he noted that although mankind discovered or developed things that made human lives better our uncontrolled desires assured that there would be a diminishing amount of resources to sustain us.  Up until about 1870 that was true.  The Industrial Revolution started in England about 1770 and did boost the living standards of the rich and was part of the leadup to the greatest global economic growth period labeled the longest century.

A number of factors combined to lift more of mankind above sustenance.  Innovations in many fields were not only reinforcing one another, but research laboratories were assuring more innovations.  The  world was globalizing on many fronts including trans Atlantic transportation and underwater cable connections  Immigration and trade increased dramatically.   

Education was recognized at least in America and the British Empire as critical and suffrage gradually occurred around the world.  There was resistance, partly fueled by a misused Darwinian concept of "survival of the fittest" that seemed to justify increasing inequality.  Slavery had been reduced in Britain and America, but acceptance had a long way to go.  

Several European powers colonized huge parts of the world, Africa, Asia, Central and South America.  One country that escaped colonial efforts was Japan because they were able to initially resist contact with the outside world, but developed literacy and urbanization by adopting many westernizing methods.   They were able to send selected citizens to study in Europe or America.

An example of nationalization was the Boer War.  South Africa had a huge settlement of Dutch people.  They ran up against British ambitions and a war resulted in 1899.  Britain sent 250,000 military people and had so many prisoners they set up what came to be known as "concentration camps."  With a lot of brutal tactics the Brits won with the strong support of the British voters.  As a young boy I came across a book in our family home lauding the British effort in the Boer War.

Nationalism was on the rise.  When the heir to the Austrian Hapsburg throne was assassinated it was an effort to remove Serbia and Croatia from the grasp of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire.  It untangled alliances involving England, France, Russia, Romania and Germany resulting in World War I.  Otto von Bismarck was quoted "It is not by speeches and debates that the great issues of the day will be decided, but by blood and iron."

Despite  Woodrow Wilson proposing the League of Nations, the American reaction to the war was isolationism.  The Republicans forced the U.S. to withdraw from the League of Nations.  Heavy restrictions were imposed for immigration.  

John Maynard Keynes felt it was a big mistake to make Germany suffer which in turn was a grievance latched onto by Adolf Hitler.  

The Roaring Twenties ended with the start of one of the most serious global Depression.  Lots of action laying with the gold standard and interest rates.  Ironically Adolf Hitler understood better than Americans the importance of full employment and they came out of the troubled times better.  

Japan had become an industrial power, but were dependent on oil.  America blocked them from getting oil and the resentment led to Pearl Harbor.  After the brutality of WWII, the U.S. took on the role of a hegemon for the rest of the world.   Hegemon refers to a leadership role due to dominance.

United States, to placate returning military offered a GI bill that amongst others things encouraged  them to seek further education which not only raised standards, but gave the labor market time to sort itself out.  The Marshall plan helped to restore Europe to previous status.  President Eisenhower pushed for a greatly expanded highway system.

As racial minorities and females rose in stature there was resentment.  In 1964 the Civil Rights Act solidified rights.  Quoting the author, "Productivity depends on the division of labor...if you invite more people into your tent, your division can be finer and more productive".  Admittedly not everyone saw it that way.

From the 1990"s the Global South increased their real income faster than the Global North.  Information technology spurted ahead starting from the 1980's.  Another  factor was containerization meaning goods could be transported for lower income areas to areas of high consumption. 

In 2008 the world suffered a significant recession.  The author admitted he was wrong in his prescription (he actually started this book just before this new crisis and changed his outlook), but added most of the world did not handle it properly.  One exception was the Chinese who adopted the principle that the priority (remember Hitler) was to have full employment.  

Now we come to 2010, the author's designated end of the long century.  The world is going in different directions.  One alarming trend is the relative ignoring of climate change which will have life changing global impact.  Donald Trump was an indicator of a new economy.  He took advantage of people's natural desire to blame someone for their personal dissatisfaction.  His main policies were tax cuts and deregulation to support the already very rich.  The author thought that cruelty was also part of his legacy.  And he bungled the Covid crisis that negatively affected billions of us.  Not to mention stirring up a number of divisions of Americans.

One of those memorable passages for me was when the author paraphrased Abraham Lincoln.  "You only had the right to eat what you had earned by the work of your hands.  That was part of your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  To keep others from taking the bread that you had earned was the point of government.  Moreover, any such government was legitimate only through your consent." 

The author seems to be an admirer of John Maynard Keynes, suggesting his wisdom should have and still should be paid attention to.    http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2012/04/book-on-john-maynard-keynes.htm

There is much to ponder in this heavy book well worth reading to better understand how the world got this way.  We are still only "slouching towards utopia".  The average global inhabitant is much better off than they were in 1870, but there is still serious inequality.  Some have more freedom, but there are still a lot of restrictions limiting the enjoyment of most of the world.  I would like to close with a quote from John Maynard Keynes who felt the most permanent problem is "how to live wisely and agreeably and well."

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Trolley

This blog started when the Korean series "Trolley" (2023) became available.  But one episode near the end so upset me that I thought of throwing all my investment of time away as I found it very difficult to accept one unexpected development.  Thinking on it further, it reflects a lot of society.

The trolley dilemma is shown as a cartoon enactment in each episode introduction and I confess I could not understand the connection, but it becomes clearer.  If you do nothing 5 people will die, but if you pull a switch only one, a different person will die.  And it is not just numbers, but actual people (or issues you care about).  One truth can hurt others.  There are many truths to be exposed and we might get to better understand how politics works and the dilemmas endured by imperfect people trying to make the world a better place.  Traditionally we think Asians have a stronger sense of shame and are more prone to suicide, but a sense of shame and proneness to suicide are among us all,

Suicide is an emotional topic and it seems likely it is viewed differently in other cultures.  At one time I had written a term paper on suicide for a sociology class.  Sociology owes its beginnings to a study by Emile Durkheim on suicide.  By this series there is a different perspective.  In a few cases a person is considered guilty for driving someone to suicide and this seems to dog one family.  There is an effort to require further investigation of a suicide even after the perceived perpetrator kills himself.  The sex assault accuser should not be assumed to be guilty of murder.

A national Assemblyman gets involved with revealing a sex crime and the alleged perpetrator commits suicide and he is blamed for it.  This calls attention and ironically other suicides are blamed on accusers.  The Assemblyman doesn't know that his own wife has been haunted by such an experience and fled her home town and changed her name to hide the fact.  The story gets more complicated involving politics and personal relationships.

 He wants to pass an amendment  regarding sex crimes for heavier punishment, but has to deal with political opposition and then with personal problems.  There is no solution that leaves everyone better off.

Recently Canadians have been shocked to learn a politician with a reputation of sobriety has resigned because of a sexual mistake.  His agenda will be taken over by others.  Whether this is a disaster, an opportunity for progress or a very slight variation on the status quo the future has been altered by a human weakness.  This series displays a moral dilemma where decisions that effect everyone are distracted by political power struggles and personal relations.

There is not a lot of information accessible on the cast and crew, but as one becomes more familiar with Korean dramas you are likely to come across their names and appreciate their talent.

Kim Moon Kyo is the director.  This is only the second series he been listed for.

This is only her fourth series that Ryu Bo-Ri.has written for.

 Kim Hyun-joo plays the Assemblyman's wife Kim Hye Ju, and carries the most range of any role.  She has 28 films under her belt and won 5 awards.

Hee-soon Park plays the Assemblyman  He has 43 film credits and won 3 acting awards.

Seo Jung-yeon plays a close friend, Seo Jung-yeon who operates a cafe.  She has 38 credits including "Live Up to your Name" (2017) which was an unusual favorite.  see http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/07/live-up-to-your-name.html

Mu-Yeol Kim plays a political operative, Mu-Yeol Kim who is protective of his boss, the Assemblyman.  He is calculating and at ties seems cold hearted.  He has 26 film credits to his name.

Kim Mi-Kyung  plays a politician, Woo Jin Seok who generally supports the Assemblyman.    She has been in 70 films including  "It is Okay Not to Be Okay" (2020), another of my favorites.  See http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/03/its-okay-not-to-be-okay.html

Jung Soo-Bin plays Kim Soo-Bin a girlfriend to the son who dies tragically.  She appears suspicious and sure enough it is awhile before we find  out the true story and it is a bit complicated.  This is only her third film credit.

This series is full of emotions, misunderstandings pointing to moral dilemmas for a few of the characters.  It doesn't really have a happy ending for any of them.  Much like life.  The acting is credible.  Korean culture underneath all the similarities is different, but both aspects are worth understanding better.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Drishyam 2 signifies a new global movie franchise

One thing most movie watchers agree on is that popularity is one factor for deciding which ones to choose.  Most movie makers have found a formula that draws a crowd.  They work because they have been tested and appeal to motives that have been well identified.  But there is still an interest in something that is a little out of the formula.  "Drishyam" can now be considered a franchise.  You will love it.

 Panorama has bought world wide rights.  Already it has been filmed in Malayalam, Telegu, Hindi, Sinhalese, Kannada, Chinese with plans for Korean, Japanese and English.  There are plans for a Part 3 with the Malayalam and Hindi versions being released simultaneously.

Why so popular?  "Drishyam" is not a mystery the way we normally watch, in fact it is sort of the reverse.  It might seem strange that an idea first expressed in a language most westerners are not even aware of, Malayalam would attract universal attention.  The hero is an ordinary guy, an orphan and school drop out.  He owns a cable operation which helps feed his addiction to movies.  His daughter is caught innocently in a sexually compromising situation and the perpetrator approaches the mother and daughter and in a tense situation he is accidentally killed.  When the hero comes home he decides on a plan to protect his family from being caught and his daughter's reputation being besmirched in a conservative area.  The scummy character's mother is a very clever police chief bent on catching the guilty party which focuses on the right people because they were the last one connected to the missing man.  The plan is very clever.  The audience takes the side of the protective father.

Part two occurs 7 years later and we had all been impressed thinking the issue was over.  However  there are always a few loose ends and policewoman mother still is determined.  It is well handled, but with a lot of tension.  The different versions do have subtle differences in actions and moral differences.

A favorite quote of mine exemplifies some of the moral ambiguity comes from the hero seen in the Hindi version:   "Despite all the justifications, the hero can never look in the eyes of the boy's parents". 

My first look at the Bollywood version:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/11/driishyam-bollywood-remake-masterpiece.html

Years later I saw the original Malayalam version and sometime after the sequel.  Then I was I saw the second part in Telegu.  More recently I saw the Bollywood version of the sequel.

I recognize that I do not know all those who should take credit for the success, but below are some who deserve some recognition

Jeethu Joseph was the original "Drishyam" (2015) in Malayalam.  He got his start as an assistant director, but than ran into roadblocks.  He tried to interest producers with a one line plot, but failed.  His mother stepped and agreed to finance the film with him as director.   A producer did get interested and took over about a month into the project.  His career went forward, but really got a big break with "Drishyan" released in 2013.  He had no thoughts about a sequel, but others did and Antony Parambavour  (who financed bodth the original and sequel) persuaded him to try.  Jeethu has written and directed the two Malayalam versions and directed the Tamil.

Abhishek Pathak was the director, producer and adapted the script for Hindi version of "Drishyam 2".   He had attended the New York Film Academy and later learned much from Anurag Kashyap.   He has been primarily a producer, but also a writer and director.  He produced the first Bollywood version of "Drishyam" in 2015.  His other credits include "Omkara" (2006), "Aakrosh" (2010), "Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge" and "Ujda Chaman" (2011).

Mohanlal played the Georgekutty character owner of cable operation in Malayalam versions..   Gave an ok for part 2 as sidelined by Covid lockdown.  He has 34 playback singing credits and 34 producer credit and over 260 acting credits that snagged numerous awards.   Some film credits include "Summer in Bethlehem" (1998), "Tezz" (2012), "Grandmaster" (2012) and "Pulimurugan" (2016),

Ajay Devgn played Vijay Salgaonkar, the cable tv. owner.  The reason Ajay agreed to do the original was because what he had planned got delayed and he had three months to spare which was enough for the shooting schedule.  His original family name was Devgan, but he was advised to change to Devgn.  He has been very busy as an actor, but also as a producer and director.  His film credits include "The Legend of Bhagat Singh "(2002), "Raincoat" (2004),  "Once Upon a Time in Mumbai" (2010), "Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge" (2010), "Shivaay" (2016) and "Gangubai Kathiawadi" (2022).

Meena played Rani George, wife to Georgekutty in the Malayalam versions and Jyothi wife to the cable operator in the Telegu versions.  She also has a singing career and is multi lingual.  Her over 150 film credits include "Friends" (1999) and "Karutha Pakshikal" (2008).

Shriya Saran plays Nandini Salgaonkar, wife to Vijay.  She has fascinated me when she played in English the love interest in "The Other End of the Line" (2008).  She speaks several languages with film credits including "The Blue Umbrella" (2005), "Kanthaswamy" (2009), "Midnight's Children" (2012) and "RRR" (2022).

Tabu is one of the highlights for me in the two Bollywood versions.   She plays  Police Chief Meera Deshmukh and you may not like her as she is ruthless in her pursuit of who she believes is her son's killer. Speaking four languages she appeared in one English movie, "The Namesake" (2008).  Her film credits include  "Chachi 420" (1997),  "Hera Pheri" (2000),  "Cheeni Kum" (2007), "Andhadhun" (2018), "Sanju" (2018) and  "Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo" (2020). http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/12/tabu.html  I would love to see her in the Part 3, both in Hindi and English.

I look forward to "Drishyam 3", mostly with the same casts and think it might be well worth checking out different versions to see which has the best twists or most subtle embellishments

Drishyam (Bollywood version) is available through Netflix while Drishyam 2 through Prime.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Melting Pots and Tribal Enclaves Historial Fiction

 It is encouraging that society can still allow such a book to be published.  The author, Terry Morgan in his late 70's had a story to tell, but lacked some technological skills, but didn't let that stop him.  His story was hand written and mailed to someone who could translate the words to be emailed.  Then of course editors could turn it into something for us to read.       

 Who would want to read it?   Someone like me who has adopted Hamilton, Ontario as my home.  Someone who is curious about how our multicultural society coalesces.  Anyone who can appreciate some of the subtleties of human nature.  There is something there for everyone. Terry Morgan must have had an interesting life and and learned a lot about how we are all connected.

Hamilton is a city where many people choose to live here because they "can afford it".  There is more to Hamilton and one of the driving forces comes from the variety of people who have been attracted and how they have learned to work together.  Personally I married into the mix and understand a little better the dynamics offered by Ukrainians and Italians.

Story takes us back into history around the time of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire where one character felt a connection.  The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian Hapsburg throne was a major catalyst for the Great War, better known as World War I.

A few facts I learned included that the Ukrainians had been misled about how great Canada was and were shabbily treated when they first reached western Canada.  They proved to be ambitious hard workers and found Canada respected hard work and provided opportunities.  My wife's family migrated to Hamilton from Saskatchewan and went into a variety of occupations, some doing very well.  There are two main Ukrainian groups; Catholics and Greek Orthodox.  Surprisingly many of the western Ukrainians were Catholics, but were dismayed when the Papacy sent Polish priests to take care of them.  The Russian Orthodox Church established in Alaska sent Orthodox priests and converted many of the dissatisfied Catholics.  Somehow that led to me being married in a Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  The author acknowledges there were significant conversions.

Another factor not fully appreciated was how the German invasion of Ukraine in World War II splits Ukrainians.  Essentially they hated Stalin who deliberately starved millions of Ukrainians between 1932 and 1936, an action known as the Holodomor.  My in-laws had all immigrated well before then.

Hamilton became known as a major steel manufacturer that in turn led to development of Labour Unions, in many cases led by British immigrants  The book covers much of those developments focusing on two families, one Ukrainian and one Welsh.  By his depth of knowledge it is safe to assume the author Terry Morgan has personal acquaintance with both groups.  In addition he seems well aware of human nature and illustrates with numerous human characteristics of all humans.  There is a generational element to his narrative that not only effects immigrants, but everyone.  Universal truths are revealed by local realities. 

As a Hamiltonian there are numerous references to streets and personalities that are a part of Hamilton.  Sam Lawrence Park, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Church, McMaster University, Paddy Green's Tavern, the Ti-Cats, Avon Tavern, etc. etc.

This historical history includes Wales and one wonders what the author's connection to the story really is.  Although many ethnic groups are touched on, the Welsh contingent ends up on the groom's side.  One character starts out in Wales, migrates to western Canada where in Moose Jaw there is found a mutual attraction.  They marry and she agrees to live in Wales.  There are stresses there and during World War II she goes back to Canada, but this time ends in Hamilton.  After the war her husband decides to join her and they have another child.

 A delicious part was near the end where in adjacent chapters  detailing much of the psychology indulged in with bridal showers and stags.  All through the book Terry gives his insights into human behavior, perhaps based on similar experiences. The dialogue seems very real (including the silent dialogue) seems very real.

The world is full of connections and we would all be better off if we could learn more of our own connections and that of others because we are all connected.  You don't have to have a Hamilton connection to appreciate, but if you do it will be very rich.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Band of Brothers

Although focused on a specific Paratrooper group (Easy Company, 506th Regiment of 101st Airbourne Division, , U.S. Army) this strikes me as one of the more comprehensive World War II films.  In many war films there are paratroopers shown as the advance attack force,but they aren't followed nearly as closely as in "Band of Brothers" (2001).

 To maintain authenticity the actual veterans covered recalled  the actual events and their feelings at the start of most of the 10 episodes (at the concluding episode the veterans are interviewed at the end).  Without their approval scenes could not be filmed and in some cases deleted.  The coverage starts with training camp in the U.S.  Here we encounter a tough trainer who eventually loses the respect of the trainees.  We appreciate that the paratroopers are elite forces who not only go behind enemy lines, but are able to disrupt defensive positions.  Stealth is required to attack enemy soldiers on their home turf.

When they are set to land behind and ahead of D-Day they encounter anti aircraft guns and fighter jets.  They have to deal with casualties, but they are able move the invasion forward.  Taken back to England they prepare for a variety of jumps as they invade different European countries.   The initial jumpers need to get used to replacements.  The brotherhood forms as they suffer the same dangers and the same confidence  building triumphs.  

In the Netherlands they are greeted as liberators, being kissed by the women.  On the other hand they see women with shaved heads who are being castigated for sleeping with Germans.   Everywhere they go they are treated as liberators by the natives.

One episodes devotes coverage to the medics.  In their jumps and battles the paratroopers suffer a wide variety of injuries.  Treating them incurs a lot of risk, but in their vulnerability they save lives and prolong the fight.

Aside from attacking the enemy the paratroopers are also responsible for capturing prisoners and making sure they are handed over to the proper authorities.  Towards the end of European war  when they crossed the German borders there were literally hundreds of soldiers surrendering.

All too many of the Americans came across concentration camps which at the beginning they could not quite fathom the hatred that went into them.  For many who had started seeing Germans as humans were aghast.  The soldiers could not believe that the nearby German civilians were unaware of what happened  in the camps.  We saw emaciated people with tatoo numbers plus even more dead bodies.  The survivors were starving, but after medical advice had to limit food so as not to damage further their bodies.  German civilians were forced to help clean up the mess including dead and suffering bodies.

Throughout most episodes are found a lot of violence.  Lots of explosions and gun shots.  Particularly gruesome were scenes of huge tanks crushing soldiers and bayoneting.  To survive too many of us become callous (to some extent that includes viewers).

Human nature reveals itself not only in the brotherhood felt by those who suffered and triumphed together, but also by many petty activities.  Resentment of poor leadership, discomfort with those replacing lost partners and a resentment towards fellow Americans who didn't understand the combatant's sacrifices.  Many could not resist taking guns, flags and other items as contraband. 

Reading comments revealed what was not shown.  As near as I can recall there were the soldiers  not included blacks, Asians, or Hispanics.  It was a white man's war and they were the heroes only there was more to it.

Truly a blockbuster effort resulting in Prime Time Emmy awards.  Not possible in a blog to do justice to all the contributor and the following are merely a sampling of the creativity brought to this project.

Tom Hanks, director of 1 episode, executive producer and writer of 1 episode.  Tom Hanks spends more time producing than acting.  He manages to combine both disciplines with this film.  He did not get involved in acting until after floundering in efforts in college when a community theater.  His first film was "Splash" (1988) under Ron Howard and was a box office success.  Another film that propelled him forward was "A League of Their Own" (1992) followed shortly with "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) and "Philadelphia" (1993) for which he won an Oscar.  "Forest Gump" (1994) won him another Oscar and was a global box office hit.  In 1996 he got into directing with "That Thing That You do" (1996).  In 2002 he became the youngest actor to win the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.  His film credits include:   "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), "Castaway" (2000), "Saving Mr. Banks" (20130, "Bridge of Spies" (2015),"Sully" (2016), "The Post" (2017) and "A Man Called Otto" (2023).   check:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/01/swedish-classic-remade-as-man-named.html

Graham Yost, writer of 2 episodes has been both a producer and writer.  His father Elway Yost used to host Saturday Night at the Movies which was one of the influences for better undersanding movies.  His movie credits include "Speed" (1994), "John Adams" (2008) and one my all time favorite Canadian movies, "The Grizzlies" (2018).  Check  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2020/01/an-unexpected-canadian-film-gem.html

Stephen E. Ambrose wrote the original book.  He is considered the top military historian, specializing in World War II.  Has also written biographies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.He was the founder of the Eisenhower Center and president of the National D-Day Museum.  He has been quoted saying "The number one secret of being a successful writer is this:  marry an English major."

Mary Richards was the producer.   She started as a production assistant in 1975.  From there she got more involved with production managing and producing.  Her film credits include "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994) "Notting Hill (1999) and "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (2008.) 

Steven Spielberg was also an executive producer.  He has been a producer, writer, and director.winning 3 Oscars. His film credits include "E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988) "Schindler's List" (1993), "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), "Lincoln" (2012) and "West Side Story" (2021).     

Damian Lewis played Richard D. Winters in all 10 episodes.  He was born in England  Appeared in 37 episodes of "Homeland" (2011-2014).  He had a flawless American accent that fooled some of his cast mates.  After getting theatrical training he acted with the Royal Shakespeare Theatrre.  He was spotted by Steven Spielberg on a stage play and brought him over to films. 

Ben Caplan appeared in 5 episodes.  He got his training at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  He performed on stage and later some directing.  He appeared in episodes of "Inspector Morse" (1997) and "A Touch of Frost" (1999).  He appeared in "Leap Year" (2010) and for 32 episodes of "Call the Midwife" (2012-2017).

 Tom Hardy made his television debut with 2 episodes of "Band of Brothers."  In one film  "Locke" (2013) he was the only actor who appeared on screen,  Other film credits include "Inception" (2010), "Child 44" (2015), "Dunkirk" (2017) and "Taboo" (2017).

In truth this was a very impressive team effort.  They won 6 Prime Emmy plus another 8 nominations.  Well worth the effort.