"No End in Sight": In the Beginning ... Focusing on the Iraq War Enablers (Documentary)

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

So far, some of the best documentaries about the war in Iraq — “Gunner Palace,” “The War Tapes” and “Iraq in Fragments,” for example — have concentrated less on politics, policy or military strategy than on individual, in-the-moment experiences. As if to balance a climate of argument thick with generalization and position-taking, these films push debate aside in order to bring home the sensory details of daily life for American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

“No End in Sight,” Charles Ferguson’s exacting, enraging new film, may signal a shift in emphasis, a move away from the immediacy of cinéma vérité toward overt political argument and historical analysis. Not that these have been scarce over the past few years, as an ever- growing shelf of books can testify. Among Mr. Ferguson’s interview subjects are the authors of some of those books — notably Nir Rosen (“In the Belly of the Green Bird”), James Fallows (“Blind Into Baghdad”) and George Packer (“The Assassins’ Gate”) — and his film in effect offers a summary of some of their conclusions.

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