The Beast

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THE BEAST (vt THE BEAST OF WAR). Kevin Reynolds, dir. USA: A&M Films, Brightstar Films (prod.) / Columbia-TriStar (US dist.), 1988. William Mastrosimone, script, stage-play (Nanawatai [approximately, "obligation to give sanctuary"]). Filmed in Israel.

"Mundane"—nonSF—war film set in 1981 Afghanistan, featuring what is probably a T-62 Soviet tank (identified in some reviews as a T-64) and its crew in battle against the Mujahedeen; there are also two significant helicopters. Note machine-men of tank crew vs. more noble, more natural Mujahedeen and Afghan women. See for interior of tank and initial rescuing helicopter as places of problematic safe enclosure and refuge—a kind of unholy and unreliable sanctuary—for the Russian tank crew. Note image of Russian protagonist exiting film and ending movie being drawn up toward, but not into, a second rescuing helicopter: he is exposed but escaping, with as much transcendence as this film will allow. Cf. and contrast safe and threatening enclosure, and images of transcendence, in such S.F. as the middle and end of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (film) and novel (inside Discovery and Star-Child) and THE MATRIX (various ways of being in the Matrix and Neo's flight at film's end).

(RDE, 08/05/03, 26May15)