Jesse Moss and Tony Gerber: "The War Continues"

By David D'Arcy
Full Battle RattleIt isn't Disneyland, but it is a place where adults, mostly young adults, can play at being in war. Specifically, the war in Iraq. It isn't re-enactment, but simulation, in preparation for fighting the real thing after the "game" is over, and it's the last stop before soldiers encounter the real thing. The place is the National Training Center, a "town" built in the vast sands of the Mojave Desert, some two hours west of America's gaming capital, Las Vegas.

"Full Battle Rattle" is the army term for the full combat gear that soldiers wear. Jesse Moss and Tony Gerber call their film, Full Battle Rattle, an observational documentary, a new term for verite style.

And we hear lots of voices - young soldiers, officers determined that they and their troops will learning something from the training, and Iraqis recruited from San Diego who are playing at being themselves as they pretend to be under occupation. US soldiers with Iraq experience play insurgents. The odd simulation couldn't be more well-meaning - an oddly surreal game to help soldiers better understand their role in a war that their commanders may have trouble understanding.

More than a dozen Iraqi villages are constructed out there, with inhabitants and occupying soldiers. The mission in Full Battle Rattle is to manage frustrations in the fictional village of Medina Wazl (Junction City), where a town leader's son has been shot by insurgents, which leads the townspeople to wonder whether the insurgents might be better at ensuring their security than the Americans. It's a challenge for the Americans led by earnest Lt. Colonel Robert McLaughlin to make things right. Without giving too much away, let's just say that they don't.

In this "western," all the players wear Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Systems (or MILES) gear, which enables the army to measure casualties and kills - an updated version of the notorious body count that provided a quantitative measurement of success or failure for the US in Vietnam, or at least the top commanders and their boss Robert McNamara thought it did.

In the same landscape where Zabriskie Point was filmed, with cutaway shots of the blue sky and mountains reminding you where all this is really taking place, US officers tell "local" Iraqis of Medina Wazl that "we can be your best friend or your worst enemy." The Iraqis can work with the Americans, "or we can rain down a shit-storm." This is phraseology that replaces the timeworn expression "my way or the highway." Seeing it applied in this simulation, you can conclude that the US is still searching for the right mix of friendliness and force.

I spoke with Moss and Gerber as their "observational" documentary began its national run at Film Forum.

There seems to be a paradox here. The press has been writing about films about Iraq, yet few of them have drawn much of an audience. The docs on Iraq don't seem to be connecting with an audience that goes to movie theaters. Yet you tell me that at Hot Docs, you got a real response from the audience.
Jesse Moss: I think to some extent it's the audience who likes to see Iraq documentaries that comes to see them at festivals.  

Tony Gerber: You cannot judge a book by its cover. We happen to fall into that genre, but we're quite different from any Iraq documentary that has had a commercial release to date. We deal with the film with a certain amount of ironic distance. And we never go to Iraq. This is a movie that looks at the war through a prism.
I'm not trying to compress your film into something identical to films that are dealing with the war in Iraq. The hint of any film being about Iraq seems to prejudice the theatrical audience.
Moss: That's the reality of the marketplace now. I'd like to be optimistic and think that the right kind of film that deals with Iraq could connect. We've had some dreadful Hollywood films, and some okay films, and those have not done well. When people want to see a Hollywood film, maybe they want to see escapism in it - No End in Sight being the more recent exception, and that was a year ago. It's true that Iraq is scary for non-fiction audiences, or maybe they feel as if they've seen it before. I also think there's a certain sense of guilt and shame on the part of Americans, whether they're movie-going audiences or not. The fatigue is about being lectured at, and it's about agenda. It's about the dialogue being agenda-driven. And what we've set up to do is to make an observational film that's not agenda-driven, and I don't think that's been done to date.


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In all bodily wholesale michael kors exercises he excelled, and showed an extraordinary quickness and agility. Of fencing he was especially fond, and made my two boys Louis Vuitton Outlet proficient in that art; so much so, that when the French came to this country with Monsieur Rochambeau, not one of louis vuitton bags his officers was superior to my Henry, and he was not the equal of my poor George, who had taken the LV Purses King��s side in our lamentable but glorious war of independence.

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From that day, until the last of his dear and Michael Kors wallets honored life, it was my delight and consolation to remain with him as his comforter and companion; and from those little cheap louis vuitton bags notes which my mother hath made here and there in the volume in which my father describes his adventures in Europe, gucci bags I can well understand the extreme devotion with which she regarded him �� a devotion so passionate and exclusive as to oakley sunglasses wholesale prevent her, I think, from loving any other person except with an inferior regard; her whole thoughts being centred on this Michael Kors store one object of affection and worship. I know that, before her, my dear father did not show the love which he Michael Kors handbags wholesale had for his daughter; and in her last and most sacred moments, this dear and tender parent owned to me her Louis Vuitton Outlet online repentance that she had not loved me enough: her jealousy even that my father should give his affection to any but Louis Vuitton Store herself: and in the most fond and beautiful words of affection and admonition, she bade me never to leave him, and to supply the place which she was quitting. With a clear conscience, and a heart inexpressibly thankful, I think I can say that I fulfilled those dying commands, and that until his last hour my dearest father never had to complain that cheap louis vuitton bags his daughter��s love and fidelity failed him.

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I did michael kors handbags wholesale not see our other relative, Bishop Tusher��s lady, of whom so much is said in my papa��s memoirs �� although my cheap louis vuitton mamma went to visit her in the country. I have no pride (as I showed by complying with my mother��s request, and marrying a gentleman who was but the younger son of a Suffolk Baronet), yet I own to A DECENT RESPECT Louis Vuitton Sale for my name, and wonder how one who ever bore it, should change it for that of Mrs. THOMAS TUSHER. I chanel bags pass over as odious and unworthy of credit those reports (which I heard in Europe and was then too young to Louis Vuitton Outlet Online understand), how this person, having LEFT HER FAMILY and fled to Paris, out of jealousy of the Pretender betrayed his secrets new balance outlet online to my Lord Stair, King George��s Ambassador, and nearly caused the Prince��s death there; how she came to England and married Michael Kors outlet clearance this Mr. Tusher, and became a great favorite of King George the Second, by whom Mr. Tusher was made a Dean, new balance factory store and then a Bishop. I did not see the lady, who chose to remain AT HER PALACE all the time we were in London; but after visiting her, my poor mamma said she had lost all her good looks, and warned me Michael Kors handbags on sale not to set too much store by any such gifts which nature had bestowed upon me. She grew exceedingly stout; and michael kors bags I remember my brother��s wife, Lady Castlewood, saying ����No wonder she became a favorite, for the King likes them old and oakley outlet store ugly, as his father did before him.�� On which papa said ����All women were alike; that there was never one so Michael Kors wallets cheap beautiful as that one; and that we could forgive her everything but her beauty.�� And hereupon my mamma looked vexed, and Michael Kors purse outlet my Lord Castlewood began to laugh; and I, of course, being a young creature, could not understand what was the subject of their conversation.

After the circumstances narrated in the third book of these Memoirs, my father and mother both went abroad, being Louis Vuitton advised by their friends to leave the country in consequence of the transactions which are recounted at the close of the find cheap michael kors bag volume of the Memoirs. But my brother, hearing how the FUTURE BISHOP��S LADY had quitted Castlewood and joined the Pretender at new Louis Vuitton Paris, pursued him, and would have killed him, Prince as he was, had not the Prince managed to make his escape. Michael Kors Purses On his expedition to Scotland directly after, Castlewood was so enraged against him that he asked leave to serve as a Louis Vuitton Outlet Store volunteer, and join the Duke of Argyle��s army in Scotland, which the Pretender never had the courage to face; and thenceforth oakley outlet online my Lord was quite reconciled to the present reigning family, from whom he hath even received promotion.

Mrs. Tusher was by this Louis Vuitton Bags 2015 time as angry against the Pretender as any of her relations could be, and used to boast, as I have heard, Michael Kors outlet sale that she not only brought back my Lord to the Church of England, but procured the English peerage for him, which Michael Kors handbags outlet stores the JUNIOR BRANCH of our family at present enjoys. She was a great friend of Sir Robert Walpole, and would not chanel factory outlet store rest until her husband slept at Lambeth, my papa used laughing to say. However, the Bishop died of apoplexy suddenly, and Louis Vuitton Outlet Handbags his wife erected a great monument over him; and the pair sleep under that stone, with a canopy of marble clouds chanel outlet and angels above them �� the first Mrs. Tusher lying sixty miles off at Castlewood.

But my papa��s genius and education are Michael Kors outlet stores both greater than any a woman can be expected to have, and his adventures in Europe far more exciting than his offical michael kors outlet clearance life in this country, which was passed in the tranquil offices of love and duty; and I shall say no more cheap Michael Kors bags by way of introduction to his Memoirs, nor keep my children from the perusal of a story which is much more cheaps michael kors wallets interesting than that of their affectionate old mother,


Castlewood, VIRGINIA
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