Saturday, October 21, 2006

Recommending The Fog of War

I watched The Fog of War, the academy award-winning documentary from Errol Morris. The film is sub-titled 11 lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara. Its a riveting account from one of America's main players of the Cold War. McNamara is very candid about Vietnam, although the film does not go in depth to the extent that McNamara's memoir In retrospect : the tragedy and lessons of Vietnam did.

The film uses a technique invented by Morris called the Interrotron. The Interrotron uses two cameras and teleprompters during the "talking-head" interview segments. If you've ever seen a regular teleprompter, it allows a person to read a script while looking directly into a camera. Morris' Interrotron substitutes an image of another person into the teleprompter screen. This allows the interview subject, McNamara, to look directly into the camera while talking to Morris. The net effect is that McNamara appears to be talking directly to the viewer, and this provides extra punch during some of his most stirring commentary.

Philip Glass scored the film and that's a another bonus. His score is haunting and surreal, just as you'd expect from Glass.

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