The hidden reality of war in Afghanistan and Iraq: challenges for the fiction film

Gehrmann, Richard (2015) The hidden reality of war in Afghanistan and Iraq: challenges for the fiction film. In: The London film and media reader 3: the pleasures of the spectacle. London Symposium, London, United Kingdom, pp. 630-641. ISBN 978-0-9573631-5-1

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Representations of war can emphasise hyperrealist levels of violence, pathos and heroism but this does not represent the real experience of most soldiers. For most soldiers war comprises tedium, routine work and occasional violence, but these images are not part of the spectacle of war that we construct and consume. The vast majority of war film discourse is focused on ‘realistic’ or ‘critical’ war films that represent small, isolated peaks of military experience. Representations of war in film and media range from the Second World War model of mythic heroism, the Vietnam era genre of disillusionment and despair, or for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts the image of soldiers as war junkies raised in an amoral historical vacuum. In an environment where actual media images of the YouTube war are readily available online, and where many western communities are increasingly divorced from daily contact with real soldiers, this essay examines the distorted misrepresentation of the war on terror, with reference to case studies that include The Hurt Locker, Restrepo and Taking Chance.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: c. The London Symposium and individual authors. Permanent restricted access to Published version.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2016 04:32
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2018 02:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: war on terror, Afghanistan, Iraq, war films, war and society
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2199 Other History and Archaeology > 219999 History and Archaeology not elsewhere classified
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200212 Screen and Media Culture
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified
A Defence > 81 Defence > 8101 Defence > 810199 Defence not elsewhere classified

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