In his Oscar-winning documentary The Fog of War, Errol Morris focused on the tragedies of conflicts past; in his new film, he turns his attention to the most recent, Iraq, using one moment—the Abu Ghraib prison scandal—to reflect on an entire military and political culture. It’s been nearly five years since photos emerged of black-hooded, handcuffed and naked prisoners being humiliated by American soldiers. Their existence set off a scandal that has immeasurably worsened the U.S.’s human rights reputation. Morris begins with these photographs but moves beyond their graphic images to tell the story behind them, and examine the context in which they were taken. “People think they understand the photographs, but do they, really?” asks Morris. “Photographs provide evidence, but usually it takes some investigative effort to uncover evidence of what?” Interviewing soldiers most closely associated with the scandal, including Lynndie England and former brigadier general Janis Karpinski, Morris homes in on the truth that lies, as one of the soldiers puts it, “outside the frame.” Expanding the focus from those originally, and hurriedly, blamed for the scandal (nearly all of whom were low-level soldiers and most of whom were women), Standard Operating Procedure makes clear the involvement of higher-ups, those who left “standard operating procedure” purposefully vague. “This film is not just about torture. It’s everything,” writes Morris, in words that evoke the searching, all-encompassing acuity this filmmaker has brought to the most diverse human subjects. “What does it all mean and what does it mean about us—our military, our society?”
Preceded by presentation of the POV Award to Errol Morris, and an interview with Errol Morris conducted by cultural critic B. Ruby Rich. Sponsored by Jaman.
Official Website: http://fest08.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=78
Added by sagemane on April 13, 2008