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Films on the ongoing war in Iraq

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  1. Iraq War films.
  2. Combat/ life in country films.
    1. Brian De Palma's 2007 film Redacted.
    2. Occupation: Dreamland.
  3. Films on soldiers returning home.
    1. In the Valley of Elah (Haggis, 2007).
    2. The Ground Truth.
    3. Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987).
  4. Political Films.
  5. Life of Iraqis films.
  6. Conclusions.

Since the start of the U.S. war in Iraq in early 2003, the citizens of the world have been bombarded with news coverage the likes of which has never before been seen in the history of armed conflict. Likewise, the world of cinema has embraced the conflict in Iraq in many varied forms and with many different methods. Both narrative fiction and documentary films have been made on the subject of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Previously in Hollywood it has taken many years for a film to be made about a specific American conflict. The films made about Vietnam were not released until the late 1970's. In more recent history we have seen films about the Gulf War made a few years after its end. In the case of the 2003 war on Iraq, however, films are being made while the conflict is ongoing. This is a unique situation in the history of cinema, and as such it is well worth exploring the wide range of films on the subject, both fiction and documentary. To this end it would be appropriate to take these films, in groups, by the specific aspects of the war with which they deal. In this way the distinctions between fiction and documentary will become clear, and may shed some light on the strengths and weaknesses of each in adequately representing the war in Iraq.

[...] De Palma does not sufficiently set up the psychological trauma of the war on the soldiers in question. Rather, the ones who do not participate in the atrocities seem to be more affected by their role in the occupation. The soldiers in question are, instead, portrayed as having been capable of these actions all along, as is evident with the remorseless killing of an innocent pregnant woman. These particular soldiers were from the start portrayed as violent, remorseless men. This much is evident in their first appearance in the film, as Salazar's camera introduces us to each of the men in his squad. [...]


[...] Conclusions Films have been made about every aspect of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in both documentary and fiction form. The question remains which form is best equipped to sufficiently explore the themes inherent in a film on the subject of Iraq? The films of the last five years have demonstrated that for the most part documentaries are far more effective in this endeavor. The fiction films on the subject fail to grasp the whole of the conflict, though they each may excel in specific areas. [...]


[...] Using the funeral to open the film is a highly effective method of humanizing those that are seldom seen in American media, whether it is on television, film, or in the news. It is predominately the story of Ibrahim, who must take over, though he is much younger, his brother's business. He struggles constantly with the martyrdom of his brother, alternating statements of pride with those of regret and sadness. He attributes his brother's death to Allah, who chose him to be a martyr, a position that brings glory to Ra'ad and his family. [...]

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