Friday, May 02, 2008

Why and How

Since of you know the 'what, who, and where', Errol Morris focuses on the 'why and how' in his recently released Abu Ghraib documentary, 'Standard Operating Procedure.' I saw 'S.O.P.' with David at Angelika Film Saturday, and found it worthwhile. Morris actually interviews most of the perpetrators and by-standers so we see their faces, their infamous photos, and various artsy 'reenactments' such as the line of orange-clad prisoners at right.

Front and center is Lynnie England, the 20-year-old short soldier girl who'll go down in history as the woman holding a leash as a prisoners seems to be dragged across the floor... It's interesting to watch faces of these erstwhile abusers, see how much they 'get it' and how it's affected them.

Parameters, please?

1. Four Words That Encapsule: "Here's How It Was"

2. Haiku (5/7/5):

'Why did they do it?
What the hell were they thinking?
Did it cause they could'

'Untrained clueless kids
have power to inflict pain
what do you expect?'

3. Oblique Commentary: Some time I have to see the HBO documentary, 'Ghosts of Abu Ghraib'. I should see more documentaries, especially since I can rent them. It puts human flesh on thorny topics. It is journalism and an art form. Aaron to all documentary directors: 'Be subtle. Don't preach to the choir'

4. Insight: The film's detractors dislike the reenactments, and feel Morris should have been tougher in questioning the deed-doers. Many would have preferred resounding evidence that the entire Iraqi command knew about this and sanctioned it, presuming they did and it could be proven. While this film doesn't answer the question 'Who was ultimately responsible?' it does a great job showing us 'What were they thinking?' and 'What are they thinking now..' And it does document, well, the entire sordid incident, unfolding it before the viewer's eye..

5. Link: Metacritic Review Summary. 17 reviewers gave it a 67 average, like a B-. I'd give it a B.

Here's the trailer for 'Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,' directed by Rory Kennedy, RFK's daughter:

Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: I Don't Think So...


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