Monica Michlin (Université Paul Valéry Montpellier)
*** VORTRAG UND WORKSHOP SIND LEIDER WEGEN KRANKHEIT ENTFALLEN ***
Political Documentaries against the Iraq War: Radical Discourse, Radical Aesthetics, Radical Transmedia Practices
In the wake of recent scholarly work on the post-9/11 documentary, I will argue that in the lead-up to the Iraq War and in the early years of the occupation of Iraq, political documentary stood almost alone in the broader ecology of the media in exposing official lies fast forgotten in the flow of television images. Contrary to the corporate media, radical filmmakers continued to address their publics as “citizen-viewers” (Jonathan Kahana), and mobilized the documentary as a forum for democratic resistance. I will focus not only on these antiwar documentaries’ political discourse (on the media and on war), but on their practice as reflexively radical (Jane Gaines) – in their often hybrid aesthetics, and in their embrace of transmedia activism made possible by the digital turn. Their overt engagement, as opposed to supposed ideals of journalistic “objectivity,” often caused their status as “documentaries” to be called into question, prompting critical conversations about their indexicality or evidenciary value. We will see how these films thus reenergized debates concerning the role of the archive, of montage, of voice-over, of crossovers with reality TV and other media forms, (etc.), as they re-galvanized the documentary genre, its production and distribution, while opening or reopening investigation into the Iraq war itself.
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Arlington West. Dirs. Peter Dudar and Sally Marr. USA, 2005. 74’.
Baghdad E.R. Dirs. Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill. USA. HBO, 2006. 64’.
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