Artists' Television Access

HOW WE FIGHT Program 1: Iraqi Short Films

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Thursday, September 25, 2008, 8:00 pm, $6

Iraqi Short Films by Mauro Andrizzi

Iraqi Short Films by Mauro Andrizzi

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kino21’s series, How We Fight, presents international works that explore soldiering and depict the experience of war from the point of view of those on the ground.  From Argentina, Russia, Iraq, Germany, France, Holland and the U.S., several of these films are US premieres. On Thursday, September 25 we begin with Iraqi Short Films, a brand new compilation of videos shot in battle by soldiers and militia members in Iraq. Subsequent programs include video diaries of the battlefield and pre- or post-combat rumination, extended observational portraits and interview-based works.  There are depictions of Russian conscripts in Chechnya, PKK rebels in the mountains of Iraq, American veterans returned from Vietnam, and mercenaries and peacekeepers stationed across the globe, from Bosnia to Rwanda, from the Middle East to the USA.

“Methodological, well-targeted propaganda or unbridled outbursts, these images, in their own myopic, implacable, rough ways, relate the conflict. […]The daily life of a warrior captured in the harsh brutality of a visor made into a lens, without the relief of a counter shot.”—Jean-Pierre Rehm, FID Marseille

Iraqi Short Films by Argentine director Mauro Andrizzi is a compilation of short videos shot in the midst of war, whether by US or British soldiers, Iraqi militia members, or corporate workers. These are not “films” per se. They are a mix of slices of life recorded on video (many shot while firing on the enemy or being fired upon), pithy propaganda pieces, and soldiers’ visions of war as music video. They are crudely shot fragments, some rife with raw fear, some gloating over momentary victory. Filmed mainly as records, for friends, family, or fellow fighters, and at one point or another put on the web or on local television, the pieces were culled by Andrizzi over several months. Ranging from the banal to the intense, from the shocking to the darkly humorous, Andrizzi’s compilation depicts war as experienced, articulated, and vividly imagined by those actually fighting and dying in it. His addition of a handful of texts, from Mark Twain to C. Wright Mills to Dick Cheney, and sporadic manipulation of a few images suggests a bleak vision of this war’s inexorable chaos and horror. But it is a vision that combines the responsibility to look with critical empathy, analysis and a desire to comprehend some of its impact.

How We Fight: Conscripts, Mercenaries, Terrorists and Peacekeepers is presented with the generous support of the Potrero Nuevo Fund of the Tides Foundation, the LEF Foundation, the Arab Film Festival and Goethe Institut San Francisco.

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