SELCO: Here’s How Survival Is NOT Like the Movies

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Author of The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival and the online course SHTF Survival Boot Camp

Many times I have mentioned the movie industry as one of the culprits for thousands of misconceptions in the survival world.  Some of those misconceptions are really dangerous, and others are funny.

I am sure that when SHTF many people will simply die because what they saw in a movie.

For example, there are gonna be guys who will try to shelter themselves from flying bullets behind car open door, or folks who are gonna try to be faster than bullets.

Or simply, folks will die because of their preconception that good always win.

All these above are not reasons not to watch movies or TV shows, read books or similar. It just can be dangerous to adopt some “techniques” too literally from movies to our prepping world. Try to keep some common sense there.

Movies are usually fun, not a source of serious prepping learning. Daisy’s article the other day has a list of movies that are fun for preppers but often show what not to do.

The movies you actually learn from aren’t very fun.

Movies that you can learn something from are usually not really fun. When I say “learn” I mean mostly about getting a sense about something, usually not some particular technique or solution.

A perfect example of that kind of movie could be “The Road.”

It is one of the most depressing survival movies out there, but it does describe some stuff, and it does “install” that atmosphere of grim in you.

And it is pretty close to reality.

I am not saying we have been cannibals or we gonna be. I am talking here about the atmosphere of hopelessness, tough choices, and finding sense even in what looks like a completely desperate and hopeless new world.
All that without too many cliches.

There is always a reason to live.

We want everything to make sense.

This article was going to be about survival movies, but it looks like it is gonna be more about survival then movies.

There is something in us people that makes us want to find sense in everything, makes us want to categorize events and people around us.

So categories might be good people, bad people, important people, big events, small events, important events… good, bad, love, and hate.

The list can go on and on, you know what I am talking about.

We have the urge to categorize and base our stand and actions based on that. But in real SHTF there is not too much that is bad or good, actually, there are, but without clear boundaries between them. You have good people doing bad things and vice versa.

Events are unfolding in a way that after some time you may find yourself in a situation that you do not know what is good and what is bad. However weird this sounds it is the truth.

I found out on several occasions, and usually years after, that I trusted in completely the wrong things or people during SHTF.

You can not “catch” all sense in SHTF, and it is normal, you just have to (again) operate in your small circle from day to day.

How does all this have a connection with movies?

Well, you may think it does not, but it does, biggest movies (hits) are usually movies with clear categorization and boundaries between good and evil, love and hate and so on and on.

Movies are fun, yes, but no matter what you may say, they do form our opinions. On some people more on other less, but they do have an influence on us.

Now, survival movies may give us those stupid ideas about being faster than a bullet, or mess up our opinion about what cover is good enough for coming bullets, but they can mess up at a higher level, too.

They can give us an opinion that everything has to make sense.

When SHTF you may easily end up dead looking for that “sense” in everything.

No, there does not have to be any sense in events happening around you when SHTF, and be careful in categorizing people and events in good or bad and similar because you might be surprised many times.

Or you might simply end up dead because of poor judgment.

What to do about this?

Nothing.

Movies are a fun industry and if you perceive it like that, and nothing more, we are at the state where movies that are fun and nonsense.

I remember my grandfather seeing a movie about one of the biggest battles in WW2 here (in which he fought, by the way.) The battle was pure carnage, and  Germans together with Italians and local Nazis almost destroyed the resistance movement. As my grandfather was one of those resistance fighters it was interesting seeing him watching the movie.

It was a big hit here in that time and years after, with actors like Yul Bryner, Anthony Dawson and similar…

My grandfather watched it in silence commenting on Yul Bryner with a bitter voice, “For sure we could have used this mot……ker in that time”.

I like movies too

But hey! I’ll try not to be grumpy always – movies are fun, I watch them too, why not?

I got a great question from a reader about what movies were realistic about our SHTF in Bosnia.

Since this article was meant to be about a few movie suggestions (but I lost myself on the way) there are few recommendations for watching.

Lepa Sela Lepo Gore” (Pretty Village Pretty Flame) is a movie from this region about the war that happened here. I admit movie requires some basic knowledge about “who is who” here, but still, it is a good movie.  It is a movie about survival, not necessarily good and evil because again it is usually all mixed.

And actually, it is a movie that was made based on a true event.

Another “local” one that portrays the latest war here pretty accurate is “Nicija Zemlja” (No Man’s Land)

Another movie on Daisy’s list, Behind Enemy Lines, took place here during our war.

Some great survival movies are not local. One that is actually one of my favourite: “Defiance” is a movie that was already recommended by Daisy a few days ago, but I just have to mention it again, because the movie resembles very much my grandfather’s stories of how was it in WW2, and I find it a very accurate and good movie.

And one that is a “must-see” for many reasons is Schindler’s List.

Watch and enjoy but remember movies are fiction.

Many other good movies are out there, most of them are actually on that list in Daisy’s article, good movies, and movies that are fun.

So yes, enjoy and watch. Just do not try to look for movie solutions when the SHTF.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. He is currently accepting students for his next physical course here.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

SELCO: Here\'s How Survival Is NOT Like the Movies
Selco

Selco

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today. He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months. Read more of Selco's articles here. Buy his PDF books here. Take advantage of a deep and profound insight into his knowledge by signing up for his unrivaled online course. Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

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  • There was a Vietnam War movie here in the States some years ago called “Hamburger Hill.” I knew an Army Master Sergeant who had been a PFC machine gunner at that battle. I asked him if he had seen the movie and he had. When asked what he thought of it, he said, “Well, first of all, we never got as far up the hill as the movie shows. Second, it wasn’t bloody enough.” At the time “Hamburger Hill” was probably the bloodiest war movie made to that point (Saving Private Ryan hadn’t come out yet). So my point is, you’ve got to take all these movies and TV shows with a great big grain of salt. Their purpose is never anything other than entertainment, not dead-on accurate historical documentaries. Often the poor tactics used in those movies and shows just turn me off from watching further. I spent 21-years in the military, active and reserve. Two wars, plus 24-years of law enforcement experience including SWAT and as a firearms/patrol tactics instructor at a regional police academy. Little good to be learned from most of those movies and TV shows.

  • I watched the movie ““Hamburger Hill” hill with a someone who fought in Vietnam both with the U.S. and the French. From what I understood the VC were pushed back into Cambodia and the fighting shifted to the North Vietnamese Army in Vietnam. One scene depicted after one of many uphill assaults the US troops coming back down to regroup only to encounter behind the lines a news reporter who reported that the troops were in a massive retreat. It sounded like the TET Offensive where the MSN didn’t have a clue what was occurring or reported otherwise.

    After the movie that person pointed out to me “You have to realize that the VC also fought bravely.”. They were under continuous attack both from below and from the air support for days and still held on as long as they did. Please understand I am not taking sides but want to echo Selco’s comment it’s not all black and white. You may disagree with the Politicians but the boots on the ground are people.

    Btw, from a person who was at Dien Bein Phu, a good book account of the French defeat in Indochina is “ The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam” by Martin Windrow.” It illustrates everything that went wrong we copied at a grander disastrous scale.

    A war movie that shows one hundred percent what NOT to do in battle is “Black Hawk Down”. The movie “The Battle for Algiers”, 1966, shows what to do. The movie “The Siege of Jadotville” can be filed under what a movie shows and what occurred. The movie glamorizes the UN Irish troops being sieged by “thousands” when in reality, from someone who was there, it was a cake walk into the compound since the UN troops left the front gate wide open after drinking in the hot noon African sun and passing out. One comment on YouTube asked, paraphrasing “If you lads were so brave where were you when the English were here?”.

    My nomination for the most depressing SHTF movie is “Sophie’s Choice” in addition to Meryl Streep the plot is grim. Granted it was a Hollywood creation what struck a chord was after watching the movie my mother told me “Yea, you had a brother (lost at the Austrian border of Blieburg during the final days of WII).” I didn’t know about.

    A note about ‘Hollywood’ Zombie movies. Do people realize when cheering on the double tap of the zombies that they are the zombies depicted. Sheeple, useless eaters. Next time watching SHTF movies try seeing it from the opposite perspective of what Hollywood thinks of you. H.G. Wells “Time Machine” déjà vu. You are the cattle above ground being taken care of for food.
    Dystopic.

    It’s good to watch ‘SHTF’ foreign movies just for the perspectives shown. Years ago there was a film about the smuggling of immigrant workers/slaves/human trafficking through the Adriatic countries. I can’t remember the title. It began grim and ended grimmer. At the time I thought what does this have to do with me.
    Duh. Now I know. What goes around comes around, meaning it can happen to you. All the more reason to read and reread Selco’s articles.

  • Ps,

    A sad story of war or a SHTF movie,

    “Katanga – The Untold Story of UN Betrayal”
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=betrayal+katenga+congo+united+nations+movie&view=detail&mid=234A5E47693191BDF53C234A5E47693191BDF53C&FORM=VIRE

    It tells the story of the people of the Republic of Katanga, Congo, 1961-63, trying to be free and those who did not want them free.

    What does this have to do with you?

    During the Congo War(s) of 1960-1965 there were multiple players, countries, vying for the natural resources of that area. Think of the rare metals that make your cell phone operate and you are now linked to that war.

    Plus, history repeats itself. Congo, Bosna, and on and on …

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