The War Tapes

Overview

Three soldiers offer viewers a close-up and deeply personal view of the war in Iraq in this documentary. Filmmaker Deborah Scranton gave digital video cameras to three National Guard volunteers who were called up for duty in Iraq and asked them to keep a visual diary of what they saw and how they felt about it. The three men who took Scranton up on her offer were Sgt. Zack Bazzi, Spc. Mike Moriarty, and Sgt. Steve Pink. Bazzi is a Lebanese immigrant who previously fought in Bosnia and Kosovo and loves the thrill ...
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Overview

Three soldiers offer viewers a close-up and deeply personal view of the war in Iraq in this documentary. Filmmaker Deborah Scranton gave digital video cameras to three National Guard volunteers who were called up for duty in Iraq and asked them to keep a visual diary of what they saw and how they felt about it. The three men who took Scranton up on her offer were Sgt. Zack Bazzi, Spc. Mike Moriarty, and Sgt. Steve Pink. Bazzi is a Lebanese immigrant who previously fought in Bosnia and Kosovo and loves the thrill of battle, though he has serious reservations about the nature of the American occupation and feels most of his fellow soldiers are dangerously unaware of the habits and customs of the Iraqis. Moriarty is a husband and father who volunteered for service after the terrorist attacks of September 11; he's a proud warrior and loyal to his fellow soldiers, though he's come to hate the sting of battle. And Pink is a carpenter and would-be writer who joined the Guard to help raise money for college; his dark sense of humor often rises to the surface as he confronts the uglier aspects of the conflict. Scranton took the footage shot by the soldiers sometimes uploaded by Internet just hours after a battle and fashioned it into a story of three different men united by a single cause who are fiercely loyal to their fellow fighting men and women, even as they become increasingly cynical about the causes and motivations behind the war. The War Tapes was screened in competition at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
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Special Features

Over 100 minutes of bomus material including: Never-before-seen combat footage; Outtakes and extended scenes; Three brand new follow up interviews with the soldiers; Theatrical trailer; Biographies
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
In producing a film largely shot by three soldiers in Iraq with miniDV camcorders -- Sgt. Zack Bazzi, Sgt. Steve Pink, and Spc. Mike Moriarty -- director Deborah Scranton tackles the Iraq War with an intricacy rarely seen in most contemporary documentaries on the same subject. To varying degrees, the soldiers struggle with the moral implications of their mission, deal with war's effects on their mental health, and the effect this has on their civilian life. The regiment's daily, unbelievably dangerous mission is to escort KBR/Halliburton supply trucks around the "Sunni Triangle." As they get flushed into a moral morass, many of the soldiers become convinced that the war's priority is on Dick Cheney's ex-employer's profit margins, what they call "the war for cheese." KBR charges the military 28 dollars for a Styrofoam plate; their employees get paid multiple times a soldier's salary. However, the editing, while adequate, never really rises to the level of the images or subject matter. The overall structure is similar to a television news-magazine story; because it is largely constructed around a series of traumatic incidents, the entire experience -- the psychological stages of a year spent in a war zone -- is confused. The film also heavily concentrates on people picked to represent different backgrounds and personalities patriotic, anti-war, etc., and we never get a feel for the true makeup of their regiment. But the visuals of the war being fought, from Fallujah to random IED and RPG attacks, are horrifyingly engaging and yet another potent reminder of how little of the fighting has been shown in the United States. When returning home, the soldiers are frustrated at being unable to express what they went through and the general disinterest of their friends and neighbors. By giving them the opportunity to record the inexpressible complexity of their experience, The War Tapes finds its strongest voice.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/15/2007
  • UPC: 767685988336
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Source: Docurama
  • Presentation: Colorized
  • Time: 1:37:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 61,165

Cast & Crew

Technical Credits
Deborah Scranton Director
Norman Arnold Score Composer
Zack Bazzi Camera Operator
Duncan Domey Executive Producer
Steve James Editor, Producer
Chuck Lacy Executive Producer
Robert May Producer
Tracy McKnight Musical Direction/Supervision
Michael Moriarty Executive Producer
Jason O'Neill Sound/Sound Designer
Stephen Pink Camera Operator
Leslie Simmer Editor
Adam Singer Co-producer
Lauren Timmons Co-producer
Brandon Wilkins Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The War Tapes
1. Training at Ft. Dix [11:15]
2. Camp Anaconda [5:39]
3. IED [4:46]
4. Kids in a War Zone [10:04]
5. Car Bomb [8:22]
6. Bitching [9:45]
7. Iraqi Police [8:05]
8. Fallujah [7:42]
9. People Die Over There [4:44]
10. Homecoming [4:58]
11. Civilian Life [6:10]
12. What's it Like [14:51]
1. Life Post-Iraq [5:01]
2. Re-enlistment [2:59]
3. Views on the War [1:55]
4. Supporting the Troops [1:20]
5. Politics [2:36]
6. The Cameras [4:39]
7. Audience Reactions [2:38]
8. Personal Reactions [3:19]
9. Charlie Company Reaction [1:12]
10. Coming Home [2:14]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The War Tapes
   Play Film
   Scenes
   Extras
      Interviews 28min
         Play All
      Extended Footage 80min
         Play All 80min
         Bazzi 5min
         Moriarty 16min
         Pink 9min
         Worrall 11min
         Flanders 9min
         Rizza 7min
         Ft. Dix Training 3min
         Life in Iraq 16min
         Returning Home 4min
      Theatrical Trailer 2min
      Bios
         Deborah Scranton - Director
         Robert May - Producer
         Steve James - Editor / Producer
         Chuck Lacy - Executive Producer
      About Docurama
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