Synopses & Reviews
This book is the first comprehensive study of documentary film on the Iraq War. In a series of close readings of some thirty American and European works, it analyzes how documentaries on the run-up, unfolding, and aftermath of the war have adopted different points of view and aesthetics in order to address their publics. From the political essay (Fahrenheit 9/11, Why We Fight) to embedding within the 'grunt point-of-view' (Gunner Palace, The War Tapes), from anti-war activism in the form of cinema verite (Arlington West) to one-on-one confessional interviews with veterans (The Ground Truth, Alive Day Memories), these films challenge our pre-conceptions of the documentary form. As diverse as the films studied here may be in their political perspective and forms of address, and as hybrid a genre as the early 21st century documentary may seem, all of these works focus on the stories that were not being reported by the mainstream media as they unfolded, and reassert documentary's claim to telling and showing the truth about real-world events against a backdrop of other, more dominant narratives about war - in particular, official political discourse, TV news reporting and Hollywood war film.