The Unbearable Promotion of War:
Buying Grosses for Wasteful Gross Film
Editorial Commentary By Greg Klymkiw
The new Canadian war film Hyena Road tries to mask itself as anything but a pro-war film, but as it extols the virtues of Canada's involvement in a war which killed, maimed and shell-shocked too many of our nation's soldiers for reasons that had everything to do with buttressing the financial goals of corporate pigs, it's clearly one of the most foul pieces of garbage foisted upon us courtesy of several million Canadian taxpayer dollars.
When writer-producer-director Paul Gross sallied over to Afghanistan for a morale-boosting "meet and greet" with our fighting men and women a few years ago, he realized it was necessary to make a film about Canadians and for Canadians. Rather than focusing upon the war machine and America's perverted desires to lie to its people about extremist Muslims being the real threat, he chose instead to give us some good, old rah-rah with oodles of war pornography.
He decided to tell of a joint Canadian-American initiative to build a road through hostile territory to ensure safe back-and-forth passage through hostile "enemy" territory. Make no mistake, Canada was the enemy in Afghanistan. Gross, however, clearly had no interest in the agendas of the New World Order, the 1% of the wealthiest, who used terrorism as the excuse to murder its own soldiers and Afghans.
According to a sampling of the reams of promotional bumph on the Cineplex Entertainment website:
"...Gross felt a calling to present a very real slice of the Canadian military’s efforts in Afghanistan. This wasn't just to use film as a means of educating those who don’t really understand Canada’s role in the war. [Our role was a spurious one, but Gross has no interest in this.] It was also to give a voice, and humanity, [Humanity! Hah!] to not only the soldiers risking their lives every day to protect the sanctity of freedom [Sanctity of FREEDOM! Who the fuck are they trying to kid?], but the Afghan warriors typically villainized. [Another yeah right! The film shows one "good" Afhghan warrior and most of the rest are the typical Snidely Whiplash villains, especially a sleazy two-faced Afghan villain.]
Here's the real GROSS part to all this. The amount of promotional support for this film on the Cineplex website and in its theatre lobbies and on its screens is huge. On top of this are all the millions of dollars from Federal and Provincial coffers to produce, market and distribute this film. I have no problem with Canadian films receiving this - not even Hyena Road. However, how many Canadian films get this kind of promotional support? Not many. How many Canadian films are supported to such a degree by Cineplex Entertainment? Not many. In fact, how many Canadian films does Cineplex Entertainment bother to even show? Not many and it's getting worse, not better.
|Enjoy 300 SCENE Loyalty Points from|
Cineplex Entertainment when buying
a ticket to the Canadian War Pornography
HYENA ROAD during its first week!!!
What's essentially happening with Hyena Road and a handful of other "anointed" Canadian films is that both the government and corporations like Cineplex Entertainment are buying grosses to put bums in seats. This allows everyone to pat themselves on the back, publicize big grosses (which usually aren't that big to begin with) so that a whole whack of folks can save face by backing these few horses. And then, based on these spurious numbers, the producers of said pieces of garbage are giving green lights to keep gobbling from the troughs and make more shitty movies.
In addition to the hilariously pathetic Cineplex Entertainment contest to send two - count 'em - two lucky people to Ottawa, they're also offering Scene loyalty card bonus points if people see Hyena Road during the first week. 300 points to be exact. This represents almost one third of an eventual free ticket to see a movie. Again, I have no problem with this. It offers a decent promotional incentive to patrons and if it works, it assists in top-loading the first week of release with more paying viewers. However, how many Canadian films are afforded this great promotion? Uh, not too many.
The amount of promo material for Hyena Road on the Cineplex Entertainment website is staggering. Just for fun, here is another ludicrous quotation taken directly from Cineplex.com:
These are stories that are often overlooked, as Canada’s participation in the war is not something that is often depicted on film. The cast discuss their respect for Gross, who is telling important historical stories that our nation deserves to have heard.
Excuse me, did I just read that correctly? The cast of Hyena Road "discuss" on the Cineplex Entertainment website "their respect for [Paul] Gross"? Why, pray tell? For "telling important historical stories that our nation deserves to have heard."
You know, what our nation deserved to hear is not the war porn bunkum Gross craps onto the screen. We don't need this propaganda. We need to know the truth behind what our veterans from Afghanistan and every other war have had to suffer because they were duped into fighting for freedom.
If Paul Gross had any concern at all about the bravery of Canada's armed forces, he might have thought to tell the stories of how our fighting men and women have been treated like shit by our own government. How about stories of Canadian soldiers and their applications for assistance to the Department of Veterans Affairs taking 5 years or more? How about stories of same said veterans being denied assistance after waiting for so many years? How about the fact that this mean-spirited incompetence directed at these members of our armed forces are a result of the Canadian Fuhrer closing nine Veterans Affairs offices across the country, firing 900 Veterans Affairs staff members, not using one billion dollars earmarked for veterans' assistance, ignoring a detailed and damning Auditor General report condemning the Harper Reichstag for doing virtually nothing to help our veterans?
How about Der Fuhrer Stephen Harper removing the right of a maimed, injured, shell-shocked veteran to a lifetime pension?
These are the real Canadian stories of war that have been swept under the rug by our government and even the media to a large degree. What the fuck is Paul Gross, Cineplex Entertainment and various levels of the Canadian government doing making propaganda and ignoring the war stories that really matter?
Sadly, for Canada, not even American filmmakers have ignored the maimed, the mad and the disenfranchised thanks to Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July), Francis Coppola (Apocalypse Now). Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter), Samuel Fuller (Steel Helmet, The Big Red One) and, well, I could grind out a few thousand words just listing them. Even worse, for Canada, is that Gross has, with two pictures, burned through millions upon millions of dollars to make films that not only have much to say, but range from incompetence to borderline incompetence.
So go. See the movie this week. You'll get loyalty card points and contribute to supporting lacklustre filmmaking and lies. I hope Gross and anyone responsible at any level for this wad of nothingness are proud of themselves.
We can all feel proud. Hyena Road is what "we stand on guard for thee" for.
Lies, lies and more lies. And cruddy filmmaking also.
The link to my review of Hyena Road is HERE.
The link to my review of Bring Me The Head of Tim Horton, The Making of Hyena Road is HERE.
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