#84 – Gulf War Speeches

(1993, Fr, 197 min) Dir Remy Disco.

Another of Disco’s restagings on the behalf of his Institut de Réalisme Fictive (Institute of Fictional Realism), this one a retelling of the first Gulf War through speeches delivered by all participant countries. The setting for this is a school assembly hall filled with children who grow understandably and aggressively impatient during the three hours plus it takes to get through the selection – they even, when an end to the conflict is announced, let up a half-hearted cheer though unknown to them there’s still another half an hour or speeching to go. On the stage in the hall is a single podium with all the participants lined up behind it, ready to take their turn and this is filmed in classic Disco style with a single fixed camera. Disco doesn’t take the easy way out either by hiring actors who look like George Bush, Saddam Hussein, John Major or whatever – all of them to a man look like suburban headmasters and deliver their speeches with the same lack of magnetic oratory. As with all of Disco’s restagings there are always elements of interest, despite his attempts to dull it all down, like being able to see the narrative of the war laid out condensed and the sparring that occurs (such as it is) between the principals speeches and counterspeeches.

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