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My son's movie, FULL BATTLE RATTLE, at Film Forum NYC July 9-22 (1 Viewer)

Jul 9, 2003
I'm a very proud dad besides being an addict when it comes to films on
discs. Don't ask how many films in my collection but way over 10,000.
My son says I didn't talk to him until he told me he was going to be a director.
So I hope any HTForum memeber in NYC or visiting
will check out my son's film coming to the Film Forum in July.

FULL BATTLE RATTLE at Film Forum in New York City

It's a doc called FULL BATTLE RATTLE. Opened at the Berlinale where
Karen Cooper, the Director and President of the Film Forum board, saw
the film and grabbed it for her wondrous, unique house.

From Berlin, it went on to play at Austen's SXSW where it won the
Special Jury Award. It was shown at Hot Docs in Toronto and Full Frame
in North Carolina, and now is being shown around the world from
Istanbul to Jerusalem to Maui to Buenos Aires to Shefield, UK.

Full Battle Rattle

The London Times has called the film "a peach of a doc..utterly
stunning. It would be a sublime satire if it wasn't horrifically true."

Anthony Kaufman, who's written so perceptively on Iraq cinema in the
Village Voice, reviews FBR in the summer issue of UTNE Reader.

"More Catch 22 than No End in Sight. Full Battle Rattle proves not
only that truth is stranger than fiction, but that the two are also
impossible to tell apart."

Kaufman adds:

"The wry, provocative documentary... reveals just as much about
America's mislaid plans as any on-the-ground report from Baghdad."

There's an unannounced Q&A with the directors just for my movie
buddies on July 10th after the 6:15pm screening. Come say hello. Love
to meet any and all of this troop. And thank you kindly for reading.
And thanks for letting me post this recent family pride.

Here's the most recent trailer.




Jan 8, 2008
Real Name
After watching the trailer for this, I have to say I am more than impressed with how this is looking. I can't wait to see it. Will it be released here in Australia at some point?
Jul 9, 2003
Review of FULL BATTLE RATTLE in next week's issue of NEW YORK

Watching the coolly ironic documentary Full Battle Rattle, one's
heartgoes out to Lieutenant Colonel Robert McLaughlin as he sits in a
dazein front of his desert headquarters, having seen most of his
battalionslaughtered the night before by Iraqi insurgents. "Am I a
failure?" heasks, then answers, "Actions speak louder than words." The
poor man:He did his diligent best to bring order to the tiny village of
MedinaWasl. His men murdered only a few innocent civilians, and he more
orless averted civil war between Sunnis and Shiites after
theassassination of the deputy mayor's son (on video, to shouts
of"Allahu Akbar!"). The worst part is that there he was on camera
whenthe massacre of his men went down, celebrating the return of
authorityto the Iraqi mayor. ("Jobs are coming back to the community!")
Now hehas to eulogize the dead. Then he has to pack up and head to Iraq
anddo it for real—and hope to God that life doesn't replicate
art.Full Battle Rattle is an indelible vision of modern war, a
not-so-funfun-house mirror of the Iraq occupation set in California's
MojaveDesert. The place, 1,200 miles square, is called the National
TrainingCenter—a billion-dollar "virtual Iraq" at Fort Irwin with an
actingtroupe of hundreds (many of them Iraqi immigrants), in which
militarypersonnel get a mini-jolt of what they're in for. The film is
freaky,amusing, and sickening in equal measures—part fly-on-the-wall
vérité,part multiple-perspective Altmanesque tragicomedy. Soldiers
writhe onthe ground choking in their blood, and then Americans and
Iraqis pickthemselves up and stand in line at ice-cream trucks; it's
like DisneyWorld with the fireworks aimed lower.Directors Tony Gerber
and Jesse Moss don't lead with their politics,whatever they might be.
And on one level, the mere existence of thecenter is reassuring:
Conventional antiwar wisdom holds that theCheney-Rumsfeld armchair
warmongers had little regard for the welfareof young, inexperienced
soldiers with no knowledge of Iraqi culture.That might have been true at
the outset of the occupation, but now ourtax dollars are at work
creating a kind of alternate reality show inwhich "simulation
architects" concoct intricate scenarios(miscommunications, suicide
bombings) and devise meaty roles forIraqis who worry they're somehow
betraying the folks back home. Butthey need the money—often to send
to the folks back home.The less reassuring part is that the
situation—even fictionalized,softened, without the crucial
components of lawless privatecontractors and reconstruction stalled by
incompetence and fraud—isborderline hopeless. Full Battle Rattle
begins as a showbiz comedy,with an almost stoned view of the occupation,
but gradually the bottomcrumbles and drops out. The plastic dummies of
dead soldiers havewounds modeled on actual casualties—they're
horrifying. Thereenactments, meanwhile, take on a mystical quality: The
masks becomereal. The Iraqi actors—who know that the political (and
physical)infrastructure of their country has collapsed, who still have
familiesin peril—look askance (no matter what their script says)
whenMcLaughlin tells them that the U.S. will guarantee their security.
Asoldier admits there are moments when he despises the Iraqis,
eventhough he knows they're actors. An illegal Iraqi immigrant, Nagi,
whoplays a policeman, works like mad to ingratiate himself with
theofficers: Maybe if he helps the Americans he will not be sent
back,where he will probably be killed for collaborating. It's a little
likewhat happens to real Iraqi policemen—except most of them die.The
only subjects in Full Battle Rattle having a whale of a time arethe
Americans who play Iraqi insurgents. Gerber and Moss track theirplanning
sessions; the men all but rub their hands with glee at theprospect of
causing chaos instead of trying to prevent it. They get topick off the
enemy the way soldiers do in movies, the way Americanscan't in a war
they should never have been fighting—here acatastrophic farce, a
let's-pretend that ends with a mass deploymentto hell. --David

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