World War II movies don’t exist anymore. Movies are about individual and collective identity now. A friend and I who worked together at the Telluride Film Festival were discussing this recently. At that festival, it was a bit of an inside joke, dark albeit, that every year there would be a Holocaust movie that would very realistically, almost gleefully, depict Jews crawling through a sewer full of shit and rats. Shit and rats up to their eyeballs. Wading nose-deep in shit and rats. The reason we don’t have those kinds of movies anymore is not merely because identity politics have taken over where global politics left off, but because the entertainment industry wants to make room for World War III movies.
In these movies of the future, we will see other groups of people wading through shit and rats. Ukrainians first, then whomever is next that we all agree to stand by and allow to disappear as if they were one of three potato chip brands, or HBO miniseries, on some perverse social media meme: You can only save one, the rest have to go.
The highest compliment that you can give any place in the world is the shit and rats stamp of approval. If, in a World War III picture of the future, you would be willing to be seen wading through rats and shit, that’s the place. That is your homeland.