• First Film Competition

Combat Obscura

Miles Lagoze

For a number of years, Miles Lagoze has served the Marines in the film division where he was in charge of pictures meant for recruitment. This first film of his is the result of all his time spent in Afghanistan in all the circumstances which this conflict and the presence of the American army are likely to involve a cameraman in. It is obviously to the family of all these recent « war movies » – De Palma’s Reducted, the last Bigelow or the audacious Ang Lee – that this one belongs to; here it is no longer just a matter of rendering the truthfulness of the conflicts in ther horrific dimension but of setting up that constant back-and-forth movement between what is filmed and the fact that the camera is by now an integral part of the field; a weapon, acting and causing others to act – at sight. Zero transparency, basically, and an awareness not necessarily raised, other than that, as far as actors are concerned, of being part of, at a distance, a pre-existing spectacle they are perversely invited to conform to. That being said, Lagoze offers plenty of evidence here that nothing ever turns out the way we would like it to be, and such a chronic slippage, not so much ethical ways of acting but beings themselves, is in the end what the film has recorded. Which explains that the film’s positioning is somewhat floating, and that we would be wrong if we were to ask it to be edifying. It is less than that, given its ambiguities, and so much more, since the camera’s position itself – Miles Lagoze’s – is generously given to us to meditate upon. (JPR)

  • First Film Competition

Technical sheet

USA / 2018 / Colour / HD, Mono / 68’

Original version : Pachto, English.
Subtitles : English.
Scenario : Miles Lagoze.
Picture : Miles Lagoze.
Editing : Eric Schuman.
Sound: Ernst Karel.
With: Marines 1st Battalion, 6th Marines.
Production : Miles Lagoze.