War and Cinema

  • One Year After the Gulf
  • Friday, January 17, 8pm $2 members/ $3 non-members
  • CineCycle 317 Spadina Ave. Rear

Part of Winter 1992

One year after the inauguration of George Bush’s New World Order with the January 16th invasion of Iraq, Pleasure Dome presents a program examining the use of cinema and television during wartime. The latest wrinkle in a history of audio-visual propaganda that stretches back to World War I, the Gulf conflict was truly a ‘media war’, giving terrifying new meaning to the seamless intermeshing of technology, consumerism and media that increasingly propels North American culture. In response to state/capital controlled images of the Gulf War, many filmmakers and activists produced ‘counter media’ in an effort to restore a politics to images that had been entirely given over to military objectives. Groups like Paper Tiger mobilized immediate alternative videowork for dissemination during the Gulf War. Artists such as Toronto filmmaker Julie Martin used the TV images from the crisis to comment, in rapid-fire fashion, on the media circus. War and Cinema is a survey of both propaganda and counter propaganda by the media, filmmakers and activists leading from World War II to ‘the mother of all public relations battles’.

The Mask of Nippon NFB, 22 min, 1942.
A demonizing account of the Japanese enemy during WW II, The Mask of Nippon stands out as one of the more infamous propaganda films produced by the then newly created NFB. The film raises serious questions about the role of racism in media and public opinion during wartime.

Clouds F. Kiyooka & S. Haynes, 26 min, 1985.
Two women share their memories of World War II while screening archival footage. One recalls how her aunt left Japan for the safety of Canada only to be interned at the outbreak of the war. The other recounts her experience on the morning of August 6, 1945. A cleaving from the official histories, laying bare the issues of race, representation and state violence.

Desert Storm Pirated clips from news broadcasts, various, 5 min, 1991.
Challenging the Media Demonstration Paper Tiger & Deep Dish Satellite

Network (excerpted from News World Order), 4 min, 1991.
A lively, savvy document of a street demo against Americas corporate media. Artists and activists pull out the stops in a multi-pronged assault on such targets as NBC and its weapons-systems parent, GE.

Gulf Bowl J. Katz & O. Trager (excerpted from News World Order), 2 min, 1991.
The 1991 Superbowl found itself competing for audiences with the Gulf War, but in the world of television there seemed to be little difference between the events. Gulf Bowl fuses the media discourses on war and sport with hilarious and chilling implications

I Wish I Was Andy Warhol Julie Martin, 5 min, 1991.
Julie Martin’s media onslaught reveals the deadly imperatives behind the happy-talk of the American media. Through an eerie dislocation of televised sounds and images, even the most banal gesture appears saturated in violence. Bush promises no reruns of Vietnam while the West gears up for the ultimate 15-minute war.

January 15, 1991: Gulf War Diary (work-in-progress) Susan Oxtoby, 4 min, 1991.
A personal register of the passing deadline, fashioned entirely in-camera. Toward midnight, a trip to a demo at the U.S. consulate in Toronto vies for the frame with swirling super-impositions of clocks and newscasts. Individual and collective memories collide in a moment before the storm.

Gulf War Fantasies Mark Surman, 19 min, 1991.
A chance to really read George’s lips. Solemnly intoned by a giant mouth, Bush’s ‘New World Order’ appears as a cynical mockery of the peaceful world order envisioned in this Toronto activist video.

Technilogic Ordering (installation work) Stephen Butson & Heather Cook, tape loop, 1991.
First installment of a planned ongoing video diary. This series situates itself around the footage of the Persian Gulf War.