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A look at the life and career of Chelsea Manning, a trans woman soldier in the United States Army, who was sentenced to serve 35 years at an all-male military prison for leaking information about the country's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tim Travers Hawkins
Vincent J. Ward
Composed of images filmed at Ground Zero in September 2001, two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. The soundtrack is composed of the National Anthem recorded in October 2001 at the Yankees' World Series Game 4 in New York. The solo vocal recording has been looped and sampled to form a deconstructed version of the national anthem.
At first look, it can be a very boring series of juxtaposed snippets of life in a war ravage country. Looking deeper as a whole, it forges a lasting impact on viewers with layers of unsolvable problems and unanswered issues.
In the beginning, it seems as the invading forces are the liberators (as they claimed themselves) who bring democracy to solve most (if not all) of the problems brought on by the previous evil dictator (who we did aid, support, and pedestal onto the country's supreme seat of power). The locals did cling onto that story line in the hope of a free and peaceful democratic country. But, as time reveals, the liberators have become the occupiers... and, the occupiers have become part of the problem (if not "the" problem). The natives become discontented... and, opportunists and opposition forces arise with religions, ideologies, politics, cultures, factions and tribal ethnicity armed as the bases for insurgency, terrorism, war and power.
Politics by itself is already complicated and conflicted; politics couples with religion will only further the complication and entangle the mess which is already messed up.
There are no easy solutions in a country such as Iraq (or the Middle East as a whole). Democracy is like respect, one has to earn it. One nation cannot go into another nation and give out democracy like chocolate bars. One nation cannot demand respect when it doesn't deserve it or not yet (e.g. China or Russia). Democracy has to be demanded and earned by the citizens of each nation. Respect can be freely recognized only when that nation demonstratively deserved so.
Laura Poitras must have the utmost trust and confidence of all the Iraqis involved (especially those who invited her into their houses with their families), the US military personnel, the UN personnel, and others who appeared in the documentary, in order to film such candid and honest footage under very difficult situations. She deserves all the respect and accolades for accomplishing this monumental task.
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