Coming to NYC’s Museum of the Moving Image as part of its Errol Morris’ America series this weekend, August 13-14: THE FOG OF WAR
Morris’ spellbinding interview with former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had its debut at Cannes in 2003, followed by slots in prime fall festivals including Telluride, Toronto, and New York. Sony Pictures Classics released the film theatrically at the end of the year. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary the following year, as well as numerous film critics awards and an Independent Spirit award.
McNamara, at the age of 85, discusses with surprising candor his involvement in pivotal events of the 20th century, from World War II to the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Vietnam War. Along the way, the film borrows from McNamara’s writings on what went wrong in the latter conflict to offer eleven lessons of war that should be applied to international relations – from empathy with one’s enemy to proportionality in retaliation. Beyond the cogent analysis of his extensive interview, Morris supplements the film with extensive archival footage from the various international conflicts and incidents discussed, as well as audio recordings of meetings between McNamara and the Presidents under whom he served, offering stark insight into the differences between the men. The film engages in a complex analysis of not only one of the most controversial architects of past US international military policy, but on our penchant for war and ability (or lack thereof) to learn from it. It’s at once riveting and revelatory, and should be seen by anyone interested in the workings of American and international politics.