Band of Brothers arrives on September 9, 2001, a date that puts us in front of one of the moments that has most united the world of seriality to that of reality. The September 9, 2001 for anyone, at that time, was any date on which – as happened every day – a specific TV series was distributed. Today, however, September 9, 2001 literally means Two days before. Forty-eight hours before the catastrophe that will forever change the history of America by depriving it of its lungs. Just in those days Band of Brothers was distributed by HBO until the month of November, therefore until two months after the tragedy of 11 September. The series, so patriotic and necessary, seems to embrace America reminding her that she was not alone, that somehow one could still get up, but that nothing would ever be forgotten. Band of Brothers, on the other hand, is about this. Of the importance of memory, of the way in which the events we live are anchored in our lives, preventing us from forgetting. This ten-episode stream at the time was the mirror through which America saw itself again, the stick on which the population leaned. It wasn’t just a TV series: it was also something else, and still today no one has managed to forget the task that Band of Brothers, without knowing it, was carrying out.
Anyone who hasn’t seen it should begin to seriously consider the idea of recovering it, so as to finally understand why this production has become one of the most important pages in the world of seriality
Produced by Steven Spielberg e Tom Hanks, Band of Brothers immediately caused an international sensation. Its arrival in Italy was in fact anticipated and its programming soon passed from the second evening to the first. The recorded audience data led the top management to be amazed by that success which, in some way, had united the different nations allowing them to find themselves squeezed in the same embrace as the protagonists. Band of Brothers was speaking indistinctly to anyone listening. It embraced the populations and reminded America that it had already managed to be reborn in the past despite the great drama it had experienced.
What immediately distinguished the production was the realism with which the story was presented. The cast was in fact characterized by faces that were little known at the time, except for David Schwimmer. The rest of the actors now represent important faces in cinema, but up to that point none of their performances had yet been noticed. Band of Brothers wanted new faces that returned little the concept of acting but much that of reality. In this sense, to date, names such as stand out Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Colin Hanks, Matthew Settle. Each of the interpreters underwent real training capable of giving them a more authentic experience, an element that was essential for carrying forward the choral story of that group of soldiers who faced the terrible period of the Second World War.
Their study did not take place only through the physical medium following harsh military training, but mostly mental. For this reason the actors met the characters they were supposed to play. In this way they managed to get an idea of the pain, torment and memory of those men who now, for the instant of ten episodes, would take on their appearance. Band of Brothers wasn’t about to spare anything. Telling the war doesn’t just mean some special effects and some action scenes. It means putting torment and pain into action, the fear of a noise that could herald the definitive end. An event of this kind cannot be narrated by omitting all this and making room only for the frenetic rush from one side to the other of the mined territory. Who runs is not only a soldier, but also a man. And the ten episodes remember this well.
The intention of the producers, Tom Hanks e Steven Spielbergwas to tell the story through an emotional medium that hadn’t been implemented in that way up to that point yet. The most intimate part of that pain had not yet been exorcised, but Band of Brothers succeeded in doing so carrying forward a narrative that did not speak only of soldiers and enemies, but of people who could not afford to live in a transparent way the only condition they felt in their bones: fear. They had to harbor it, hide it. They couldn’t be fragile, only strong. This was what was required of them, and this was what they had to do. There was no room for anything else. Band of Brothers manages to stage this swing of torments and duties, thus giving life to finally human characters, and no longer mere figures that move on command in front of a camera. The different perspectives are also facilitated thanks to the wonderful use of the direction that changes from episode to episode. Band of Brothers is in fact a choral production from all points of view and sees the hand of great directors such as Tom Hanks, Phil Alden Robinson, Richard Loncraine, David Leland, Tony To, Mikael Salomon, David Frankel, David Nutter.
The psychological depth of the Band of Brothers characters is for this reason one of the characteristics that have most allowed the HBO production to become a cult from the first days of its arrival. Unlike the other productions, the most intimate and fragile part of the human being had not only been returned to the protagonists, but also to what we could define in jargon as a enemyto the German army which no longer had only faces, but also an inner world. Band of Brothers spoke about the suffering of war going beyond just physical discomfort. He has implemented a narration that disturbed us but which, at the same time, catapulted us into the torment of a drama capable of embracing us through its protagonists. It wasn’t easy to pull off this kind of production, but Band of Brothers did it teaching us how war should be talked about.
The adrenaline and the action, however, were not spared giving us back an impeccable direction capable of catapulting us into a chaotic and confusing battlefield. In fact, the tragic noises we hear do not know any precise location. The camera keeps racing along with the chaos of war immersing ourselves in all respects within what happens within our field of vision.
Not just weapons, not just menacing faces pulling the trigger, not just noises. Band of Brothers is, for all intents and purposes, part of life, a narrative that has spanned America in times of need and which, still today, tells the war in the most delicate, human and strong way that has ever been seen in a television production. Band of Brothers explained how to talk about this complicated subject by giving us back one of the best TV series of the last twenty years, one of the most human and difficult cults, one of our most complex tests in front of the screen. We are all in desperate need of TV series like this, and luckily Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks remembered this well when they decided to produce one of the most important masterpieces of the last twenty years.
For anyone who wants, Band of Brothers is available on Sky and NOW.