War and Cinema

Just a quick note to remind myself to keep an eye out for Harun Farocki’s 2003 documentary, War at a Distance (via Green Cine). I’ve been reading Michael Renov’s The Subject of Documentary this weekend, and Renov’s discussion of the Gulf Crisis TV Project, a grassroots group that contested CNN’s “military promotion” of the first Gulf War, has me thinking about what, if anything, has changed since then, less in commercial media than in the independent or alternative media that Renov celebrates, especially with the proliferation of documentaries about the second war with Iraq (or about the Bush administration more generally). I’d imagine that this proliferation can be attributed in part to digital technologies that allow cheaper production and (more importantly) cheaper distribution, but that answer isn’t compltely satisfying, simply because it doesn’t explain the relatively widespread interest in these films (that is, just because a film is available doesn’t mean that audiences are clamoring to watch it). I’m hoping to have more to say about Renov’s book later this week, but my schedule is about to go into warp-speed, so not sure I’ll have that opportunity.

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