Combat Obscura

The documentary repurposes original footage from director Lagoze's experiences as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan. 

When director Miles Lagoze submitted his documentary, Combat Obscura, to the True/False screening committee on September 11, 2017, the irony was not lost on them.

Miles Lagoze is a former U.S. Marine who was assigned to be a combat cameraman. Throughout the film, he shows an honest depiction of war in Afghanistan by filming the many stages of daily life for a person in the trenches.

The beauty of the film is its realness. All the footage is taken directly from his camera. Lagoze went on to compile all the events he felt were representative of his experience. He shows the gun fights, the cursing, the shouting, the laughter, the fear and the hostility of the men in the war. Nothing is withheld.

The documentary also highlights the Marines' interactions with the civilians, especially the children. They play soccer with them, give them gifts and even show them their weapons. The soldiers wanted the children to know that they are friendly; they didn't want them to grow up to hate Americans. 

In a stark juxtaposition, one scene reveals the soldiers patting down men they presumed to be in the Taliban after they thought they'd caught them in a secret meeting. Later, the soldiers discovered the men were innocent, and they had to come to terms with that. Here, Lagoze conveys the blurred line between right and wrong in war. 

In all, this film was candidly disjointed. Each scene brought a different element to the documentary. In one scene, the men would be laughing. The next scene, they'd be screaming and firing their guns at the Taliban. Then, smoking weed. Lagoze successfully shows the lives of Marines as they are.

The film will also play at noon on March 3 at Rhynsburger Theatre, 8:15 p.m. on March 3 at Big Ragtag and 9:30 a.m. on March 4 at Willy Wilson @ Ragtag.

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