Updated: Film Studies Department Hosts ‘Documentary & War’ Series

Professor Dr. Steven Smith. Photo Courtesy of Millsaps College.

Jenna Gibson

Features Contributor

Millsaps Film Studies launched a 3-part film series called “Documentary & War” that concludes Saturday November 11. All three films are documentaries that focus on different aspects of war and violence.

“Students should come watch these because they are landmark films. They’re very enriching and suggestive films that start you on lines of thought that will continue throughout other films and other experiences,” said Dr. Steven Smith, professor of philosophy and religious studies. Dr. Smith got the idea to show these documentaries from his class on Philosophy and War, and based on the students’ reactions, he decided that it would be a good opportunity to screen these films to the rest of the students. Dr. Smith said that these films are thought-provoking and provide students the chance to think about war from different perspectives.

The first documentary, shown on Oct. 28, was “The War Game”, directed by Peter Watkins and released in 1965, and was a fictional account about a hypothetical nuclear war.

“[The documentary] was completely fictional. [Peter Watkins] used a documentary style to create a scenario of Britain under nuclear attack and not only would that do massive damage to people immediately, but have the social fabric of the country unravel for months following that. It’s really powerful,” said Dr. Smith.

The second documentary, shown on Nov. 4, was “The Fog of War: Eleven Seasons”, directed by Errol Morris and released in 2003. Dr. Smith said that the film was mostly about our experiences with war as a country, illustrated by time from The Vietnam War.

“’Fog of War’ takes a look at the war experience of our country through the eyes of Robert McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense. He was in this remarkable phase speaking publicly and having meetings with people like Fidel Castro to re-examine and try to learn the lessons of the very hairy experiences we’ve had,” Smith said.

The last showing is Saturday, Nov. 11, and the documentary being shown is “Five Broken Cameras”, directed by Emad Burnet and Guy Davidi and released in 2011.

This film centers around “a person who is filming while violence is taking place,” Smith said. “It’s not a war, it’s a resistance movement on the west bank… It’s a series of protests over a period of years.”

The last documentary is showing tomorrow at 7 pm in AC137.

Correction: A previous version of this story was posted that said that the Film Club hosted this event; the Film Studies Department actually hosted this event.

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