American Sniper on France 3: the lively controversy behind Eastwood’s film – Actus Ciné

American Sniper on France 3: the lively controversy behind Eastwood's film - Actus Ciné

Biggest success at the Box Office for director Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper” also had its share of very lively controversies, fired by Michael Moore, who accused snipers of cowards…

In a classic exercise in recycling the program schedule, France 3 is broadcasting American Sniper tonight at 9:10 p.m., just over a year after having already broadcast it on its sister channel France 2. Directed by Clint Eastwood in 2014 and released Home in 2015, the film is inspired by the life of Chris Kyle, a US Navy non-commissioned officer and fearsome sniper.

The latter is said to have killed more than 200 people (a record in US military history) during the Iraq War. Back from the battlefield, this atypical character has opened a training center for apprentice snipers in his native Texas.

He has published a book, which Eastwood will base this film on, in which he confesses that he does not regret any of his actions. His convictions ended up getting the better of him: he was assassinated on February 2, 2013, killed by a 25-year-old ex-marine.

“Snipers are cowards!”

Huge success at the Box Office for Clint Eastwood with more than $547 million collected, the film also had its share of heated controversy in the wake of its release in the United States, and in the months that followed. Seth Rogen but especially Michael Moore tackled the film. Rogen notably made a mock comparison between the character of the film and a Nazi sniper, while Moore swung that the snipers were cowards.

“My uncle was killed by a sniper in World War II. We were taught that snipers were cowards” Moore wrote on his Twitter account, following up with other tweets about the war in Iraq.

The director of Bowling for Columbine returned to the controversy a little later by posting a long message on his Facebook page. He notably returned to the accusations of the American right, which accused him of “hate American troops”.

In his post titled “My 12 years of supporting American troops”he commented: “Who knows better what it means to hate American troops, than those who sent them into a senseless war in Iraq in the first place? […] If you supported this invasion, if you voted for George W. Bush and for the Republicans and Democrats who approved of this war, then you have to explain yourself, not me.” he continued, recalling in the process the various actions he had taken in support of the American troops, such as financial aid for veterans.

“I am not a censor!”

And to complete his ticket by specifying that he was broadcasting Eastwood’s film in his cinema, despite strong criticism. “I’m not doing it because I like the film, but because, unlike others, I’m not a censor. I know that smart, generous people will know what to do. You can’t have a debate about What Clint Eastwood means is that if you’ve seen the movie. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, politically speaking, you can see that every character in American Sniper either dies or suffers major damage.”

In March 2015, the bellows of the controversy had not fallen. During a meeting at Loyola Marymount University School of Film & TV, whose HollywoodReporter reported the exchanges, Clint Eastwood claimed that American Sniper was a movie “anti-war”.

When asked “Does the film glorify war”, the filmmaker explained: “I think the film is kind to veterans, because it shows the hardships they have to go through, and the lives they lead, and the lives of veterans’ wives and families. It clearly shows the stress they’re dealing with. And I think all of that put together comes out with an anti-war message.”

To the question “Are you anti-war yourself?” he answered in the affirmative. “I’ve made war movies because they’re high in drama and conflict. But in terms of real involvement…it’s one of those things that should be done with a lot of thought, if it’s going to be done. Self-protection is something very important for a nation, but I don’t like to face it.”

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