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2006 Culture Awards

The Year in Movies


The War Tapes  

1. Iraq on Screen
In this terrible time for the U.S. and the entire Middle East, it’s a small band of documentary filmmakers that has provided the most enlightening views of the ongoing catastrophe in Iraq. In alphabetical order: Andrew Berends’s The Blood of My Brother explores the aftermath of a civilian killing by U.S. troops—and the way that his senseless death inspires even more intensely militant anti-Americanism. James Longley’s poetic and allusive Iraq in Fragments is a triptych of despair, rage, and terror: When you feel this place, you understand just how little you do understand. The most anti-administration of these docs, Robert Greenwald’s Iraq for Sale, spells out why the war has been, for Bush and Cheney and their contributors and friends, a windfall no matter which side claims victory. Deborah Scranton’s The War Tapes uses footage shot by National Guardsmen to illuminate the psyches of the men and women on whose shoulders the war rests—and who will ultimately carry the horror home. These films deserve the widest audience possible; their makers are heroes in an age with precious few.


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