The War Tapes: Cinema Guerrité

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A Soldier’s eye view [Scranton/Lacy Films]

War has long been a subject of legendary filmmaking. Films such as Glory, Battleship Potemkin, Catch- 22, and Platoon capture both the physical and psychological despair of combat–even the Cold War has its films: The Macnchurian Candidate and Dr. Strangelove. But these films are the products of seasoned directors, not of the combatants. For the first time, soldiers have made a film about war while waging war. In March 2004, as insurgent movement strenghtened, several members of one National Guard unit arrived in Iraq, with cameras.

In February 2004, Director Deborah Scranton got an offer from the New Hampshire National Guard to be an embeded filmmaker. She called the public affairs office and asked if she could give cameras to the soldiers instead. The War Tapes, is the story of Operation Iraqi Freedom through the eyes of of Sergeant Zack Bazzi, Sergeant Steve Pink and Specialist Mike Moriarity.

What I was interested in was their interperative framework, to get as close to the experience of war as possible, to climb inside and feel it all around. By giving soldiers the power to press record on those cameras in Iraq, we were able to move one degree closer to the essence of what it is like.

Director, Deborah Scranton

The War Tapes, is gritty, candid, and authentic.

Every once in awhile I have a recurring epiphany–this is happening and will have a lasting impact on me for the rest of my life. A debate we had earlier in the day over the consistency and texture of a severed limb was not some far off grotesque assumption. It was a genuine argument between the guy who swears it resembles hamburger, ground up but uncooked and the guy who believes it looks more like a raw pork roast.

Sergeant Steve Pink, The War Tapes

During this hour we hope to explore what it means to live in a technological age where we can make films about a war that we are still living through. Is this the kind of fillmaking we need –in a world of reality television and embedded journalism–to be reminded that war is ugly, brutal and immediate? What are the long term effects on a society whose wars continue to be fought far away from our civilized, everyday lives? Is the disconnect between civilian life and military life widening or is the war in first person, told through films and blogs, breaching the gap?

Deborah Scranton

Director, The War Tapes, and the television documentary about WWII veterans, Stories From Silence, Witness to War

Sergeant Zack Bazzi

Co-filmmaker of The War Tapes. Bazzi is studying International Affiars and Psychology at the University of New Hampshire. Bazzi has been deployed overseas twice before in Bosnia and Kosovo with the 101st Airborne

Morten Ender

Professor of Sociology at the United States Military Academy, West Point

He teaches Cinematic Images of War and the Military

David Slocum

Associate Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University

Author of forthcoming book, Hollywood and War: The Film Reader

Update, 6/07/06, 4:43pm

If you want to see The War Tapes check out the upcoming

screenings. We also owe a belated thanks to Winston Dodson for brining this film to our attention.

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