War Feels Like War

The POV documentary War Feels Like War (IMDB) follows a group of independent journalists during the first few weeks of the Iraq War, with the film concluding soon after the coalition forces had taken Baghdad. Even at these very early stages, the journalists and US military have some vague premonitions of a developing resistance, powerfully illustrated by what appeared to be an anti-occupation rally in the streets of Baghdad. Like many POV docs, the film relies primarily on a verite-lite style (POV-verite?), with a fly-on-the-wall camera, no voice-over, and little explicit editorial comment, and while the film isn’t overtly pedantic about the role of independent journalists, it does demonstrate the risks and challenges these journalists are willing to face in order to get a good story. At the same time, War complicates this narrative by noting the degree to which journalists (embedded or independent) can invade the privacy of Iraqi citizens, many of whom are in mourning, who never asked to be filmed.

Perhaps teh most compelling figure in the documentary was Stephanie Sinclair, an award-winning photojournalist based out of Chicago when the film was made (her affiliation has changed several times since, and according to this POV follow-up, she is now living in Beirut). Sinclair’s photographs from the war are rather powerful, and the film itself is among the more powerful when it comes to showing the incredible violence of war. Several scenes depict civilian casualties, and one sequence depicts US soldiers treating a group of Iraqis rather roughly. In any case, the film is also highly effective in its portrayal of the seductiveness of covering war, the degree to which it provides many of the jouranlists with a sense of purpose, reminding me in many ways of Chris Hedges’ amazing book, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.

3 Comments »

  1. >> mind the __ GAP* ? Said,

    October 11, 2005 @ 6:37 pm

    in and out of embeds

    War Feels Like War …
    If you look at Fallujah after the war, we definitely feel at a disadvantage when we only have an embed and we don’t have someone on the ground able to get into Fallujah to confirm how many people died, who they were, w…

  2. >> mind the __ GAP* ? Said,

    October 11, 2005 @ 6:37 pm

    in and out of embeds

    War Feels Like War …
    If you look at Fallujah after the war, we definitely feel at a disadvantage when we only have an embed and we don’t have someone on the ground able to get into Fallujah to confirm how many people died, who they were, w…

  3. Stan Said,

    January 14, 2006 @ 3:34 am

    Perhaps the most compelling figure in the documentary was Stephanie Sinclair, an award-winning photojournalist based out of Chicago when the film was made (her affiliation has changed several times since, and according to this POV follow-up, she is now living in Beirut).

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