With a Friend Like Harry . . .
Directed by Dominik Moll
Written by Moll and Gilles Marchand
Opens April 20
Hidden Wars of Desert Storm
Directed by Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy
The F.L.I.R. Project
Directed by Michael McNulty
Opens April 20
Those with an interest in true crime should attend the pair of video documentaries opening this week at Cinema Village.
Pegged to the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War victory celebration, a fiesta that lasted nearly three times longer than the fighting itself, the 60-minute Hidden Wars of Desert Storm investigates the most significant Bush family operation before the 2000 Florida vote count. Directors Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy reiterate the big questionwhy, in the months leading up to the crisis, was Iraq repeatedly assured that the U.S. had no security agreement with Kuwait?and further suggest that the Bush administration deliberately misled the Saudis as to the magnitude of the Iraqi threat.
A useful demonstration of American military power as it might be applied without significant casualties in the post-Soviet era, Operation Desert Storm was ended prematurely when various anti-Saddam Hussein rebellions broke out and it seemed as though Iraq might disintegrate (presumably to the advantage of Iran). In any case, the filmmakers maintain, the war's basic objectives were achievednamely, the creation of quasi-permanent American military bases in Saudi Arabia and huge arms sales to governments in the regionall at the expense of the Iraqi people. Having argued this case, the movie ends by considering the malign effect of battlefield uranium weapons on the U.S. soldiers who served in the Gulf.
Moving from foreign affairs to the domestic sphere, The F.L.I.R. Projecta shorter, more concentrated filmreturns to the scene of the crime in Waco and uses the analysis of infrared video to argue that, all protestation to the contrary, FBI gunmen took aim at the Branch Davidians trying to escape their burning compound. Do the tapes show "glint" or gunfire? Michael McNulty devotes most of his film to debunking the official re-creation of the incident as part of the cover-up. The close reading of the evidence is both stupefyingly labored and persuasivea secondary mystery is the filmmaker's decision to score his revelations with a porn-style musical loop.
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