War

Hacksaw Ridge

(Mel Gibson, 2016)

<p style="display:inline"><i>Hacksaw Ridge  </i></p><h3 style="display:inline">  (Mel Gibson, 2016)</h3>

Mel Gibson's first film as director in 10 years opens with a brutal, slow-motion battlefield tableau. Soldiers become fountains of blood. Limbs are separated by grenades. Human shapes engulfed in flames tumble through the air. Hacksaw Ridge, by the way, is about a soldier who refuses to harm another person. Mel Gibson is back, for better or worse.

Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), an American conscientious objector during World War II. As a Seventh-day Adventist, Doss refused to handle a firearm, even during basic training, but overcame the resulting court martial to serve as a combat medic in Okinawa. He then single-handedly saved 75 soldiers during the battle at Hacksaw Ridge.

Under the Shadow

(Babak Anvari, 2016)

<p style="display:inline"><i>Under the Shadow  </i></p><h3 style="display:inline">  (Babak Anvari, 2016)</h3>

Ayatollah Khomeini's portrait gazes over an Iranian bureaucrat and a woman who sits opposite him, slouched in deference. It's Tehran in 1988, and Shideh (Narges Rashidi), a young married mother, wants to resume her medical training. Shideh began medical school at the encouragement of her recently-deceased mother, but was suspended for being “politically active.”

This violation marks her forever, the bureaucrat explains. She can never go back. Though it's daytime and the office is well-lit, her black hijab might as well be made of shadow.