Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Selasa, Mei 19, 2009

#448. LayarDokumentari ~ Standard Operating Procedure [2008]

The War on Terror will be photographed

Directed by: Errol Morris
Produced by: Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Julia Sheehan
Release Date: April 25th, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing images and content involving torture and graphic nudity, and for language.
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Standard Operating Procedure is a 2008 documentary film which explores the meaning of the photographs taken by U.S. military police at the Abu Ghraib prison in late 2003 and which resulted in the subsequent Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. The film was directed by Errol Morris.

Standard Operating Procedure, the new film by Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Fog of War), is a difficult film to embrace. A detailed investigation into the infamous photographs of atrocities committed by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison, the film's narrow focus is both its point and its weakness.

Anybody who has been following Morris' New York Times blog knows that he has been obsessed with the close reading of photographs -- what they seem to say, what they prove, and what they leave out. With reenactments, animations that line the photos up on a timeline, and testimony by many of the soldiers directly involved in the scandal (Lynndie England, Janis Karpinksi, Sabrina Harman), the film tries to reconstruct the events behind the images: prisoners forced into stress positions, attacked by dogs, sexually humiliated, tortured, and killed.

At the press conference at the Berlin Film Festival, Morris made it clear that he was quite conscious of the limitations of his approach. Standard Operation Procedure does not attempt to contextualize the events. The political impact of the pictures, questions of culpability by higher ranks, and more widespread torture not caught on film are at best hinted at and lie safely outside Morris' purview.

Contentious journalists also asked pointed questions about his use of dramatic reenactments and a strangely inappropriate score by Danny Elfman. "Consciousness is a reenactment," Morris countered, and reassured us that he was in search of truth. He defended the music -- which inadvertently puts one in the mind of a Tim Burton film -- by pointing out that he pictured Standard Operation Procedure as a "non-fiction horror movie." There can be no doubt that S.O.P. offers a meticulously detailed account of a very dark chapter of American history, but it stands to reason that Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and Taxi To The Dark Side tell more accessible, wide-reaching, and all-out infuriating stories about the same topic.

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008. Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club named it the 4th best film of 2008, J.R. Jones of the Chicago Reader named it the 7th best film of 2008, and Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times named it the 8th best film of 2008 (in a six-way tie).Morris's practice of compensating his interview subjects has caused controversy, although it is not an unusual practice in documentary filmmaking, according to the producer Diane Weyermann,who also worked on An Inconvenient Truth. In a private interview during the Tribeca Film Festival, Morris said: "If I had not paid them, they would not be interviewed."

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