Wednesday, November 11, 2015

War Work: 8 Songs with Film (2015)

Michael Nyman's haunting reflection on the horrors and cost of war is a trippy, depressing film. Using footage from the First World War Nyman has fashioned timeless anti war statement that is incredibly powerful.

The look of the film and it's use of old footage is kin to the work of Bill Morrison. The footage we see is both staged footage and documentary material. We see technical films on how the machines of deathe work, staged bombing runs and dogfights, and lots and lots of footage of the survivors of the war, their faces broken and showing signs of being torn askew in  ways that only terrible accidents or modern weaponry can manage. Everywhere there are attempts at a normalcy that never can be reclaimed.

The eight songs of the title are in fact texts written, in seven of the eight cases by men who died during the war. The words are pained statements of what the authors saw and felt  before their tragic ends. The fact that most died not long after the start of the war makes it clear that they saw very clearly the darkness before them.

I was moved by the film. It's message against war can't not be repeated enough.

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