Stunning scenes of loss

Jane Smiley has a valid point that movies of today desensitize the loss of a child (“When Children Die in Films,” Feb. 8). Perhaps we are desensitized by the presentation of violent images and loss of life on television and in the news media.

The death of children in the cinema has always been a disturbing image. Most films with a serious message about children dying were filmed during a time when people had less contact with the presentation of violent images on television and in the news.

“The Bridge,” directed by Bernhard Wicki, concerns a group of boys, not even in their teens, inducted into the German Army in the last days of World War II and who defend their town’s bridge against approaching American forces. They see war as a “boy’s adventure,” but when the fighting begins, all are killed except one.

In Roger Corman’s “Secret Invasion,” assassin Henry Silva is forced to smother an infant not to give away his position when enemy soldiers are approaching.


In Joseph Vilsmaier’s “Stalingrad,” a young Russian boy who befriends a group of German soldiers is stood up against a wall and shot by the same soldiers who had earlier pleaded for his life.

This selection centers on war movies, but what better way to depict what needs to be told? They tell us that a child’s life is sacred.

Children have the undeniable right to play with their toys, read their comic books, eat ice cream on a hot summer day, play in a grassy field or look at the stars and dream. Somewhere along the time frame of life, we have misplaced our emotions in dealing with the death of children in the cinema. Yet the true horrors are out there. All you have to do is pick up a newspaper.

Whitney Scott Bain


Santa Monica