Thursday, December 15, 2005
As you were
I recently read about a cool traveling exhibit (in Santa Monica from January to May, for you L.A. types) that studies the natural harmony between humans and animals through photography, film, art and letters.
Artist Gregory Colbert spent 13 years putting this project together. It's entitled Ashes and Snow and the images are awe-inspiring, as you can see by the photo here. There are more visuals, along with some of the story behind the project, at the link above. The article I read mentioned that no photo manipulation was used. It all happened in the lens.
Hear ye, hear ye: Gunner Palace should be required viewing for all Americans. (Now on DVD!)
While the film itself is only so-so by documentary standards, the subject matter is gripping, heartbreaking and vitally important. Gunner Palace captures several weeks in the lives of the young male and female U.S. soldiers who are "defending their country" by patrolling another--Iraq. The timing: after the pre-emptive invasion settled down from shock and awe into rumbling rebellion.
It is frightening what these troops, some still skinny teenagers, face on a daily basis--dodging improvised bombs that could be lurking in any random trashbag, shoring up shoddy vehicle armor with scavenged scrap metal, staving off boredom by writing raps about mortar shells, trying to bond with the natives who may shake their hands one day and spit on them the next.
The filmmaker is even-handed in capturing the options facing Iraqi citizens in their fractured country. We meet a native translator/informant turned traitor, a burly "super cop" who helps capture insurgents, detainees taken into custody despite the fact no evidence of suspected weaponry was found in their home (next stop: Abu Gharib) and a street kid hooked on drugs.
One of the most touching moments was of an American soldier cradling a sickly Iraqi baby. The baby had been separated from her mother. The soldier holding the infant explained to the camera that his own wife back in the U.S. had just had a baby--a baby he hadn't met yet. He then tried to gather his emotions as he looked down into the hollow eyes of the child in his arms.
You know what? Screw the magnetic yellow ribbons stuck on the back of SUVs. There's a better way to support our troops. Get some truth. You can start by renting this movie.