Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Control Room

Jehane Nouhaim, 2004 (8.9*)
This is an excellent documentary, obviously shot by director Jehane Houhaim with a modest budget and crew, but one given a wide degree of access to all concerned. The film attempts to show the coverage of the Iraqi war from both sides of the issue, and expose the bias inherent in all newsmedia. We see more of the Al Jazeera coverage, who broadcasts to 40 million in the Arab world, but we also see the US Army's head media (ie, propaganda) liaison officer and hear the standard US pitch on events (liberate the people, make em safe, etc). We also go into the front lines of the war for at least one harrowing incident.

The filmmakers don't make a judgment but show some indicents that didn't get full coverage here in the US, such as the suspicious targeting of three different journalists outposts with missile attacks, killing three from Middle Eastern news sources. So much for freedom of the press, as the US said they shouldn't have been in war zone to begin with, preferring to brief the media themselves daily with the US version of events.

This is an important work for both sides to see, no matter what your own political stance, this is simply good documentary filmmaking and concerning an important era in history. As a BBC journalist states, "all media coverage is biased, they slant the news the way their audience wants to hear it. You listen to Fox for the right-wing, U.S. patriotic view, you watch Al Jazeera to get the opposite view for the Arab world."

As the director of 7-yr old Al Jazeera states, "this war will be a footnote in a few years, no one will still be talking about it, such is the attention span of modern man." Let's hope that films and other media keep it as alive in public consciousness as they have WW2.
[In English, with some subtitles]


M Bell, MPA:HA May 13, 2009 at 9:39 PM  

I've heard discussions of this film. I I would like to see it if its playing or available around town. Very exhausting, but not to be ignored, right?

José Sinclair May 13, 2009 at 9:54 PM  

Not exhaustive, only about 85 minutes.. done so well that it moves quickly too.. it had a small budget obviously, but shows what can be done in spite of that. You have to love good journalism, they seem to find a way go get the job done..

If you see this and like it, then watch "Live from Baghdad", tho that one is a 'docudrama', a re-enactment, but of real events involving CNN in Baghdad.

Himali May 13, 2009 at 10:40 PM  


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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