Theatre of War review – raw wounds and redemption in Falklands docu-fiction

This genre-muddling film is both documentary, featuring ex-soldiers who fought in the 1982 conflict, and arthouse drama

The end credits of Theatre of War state that the film was “part of a larger project composed of a video installation [called Veterans], a theatre play [Minefield] and a book [Campo Minando/Minefield]” – the last a bilingual edition of the play itself. Those multimedia roots are palpable on screen in this peculiar, genre-muddling work, which is in one way a documentary featuring former soldiers from both Argentina and the UK who fought in the 1982 conflict in the Falklands Islands. In another way, this is a highly artificial, self-consciously theatrical arthouse drama featuring mostly non-professionals playing versions of themselves and each other. One of the soldiers featured is actually an actor now, although oddly enough he is given much less on-screen time than some of the other participants.

Together, the men describe their experiences in combat straight to camera in a studio, or in a room with peeling paint or, in one disturbing sequence, using toy soldiers and bits of cloth to act out horrific casualties, like some macabre amateur YouTube cartoon. A disembodied arm holds up a dismembered toy soldier’s green plastic leg, and notes that he knew he’d found his comrade Vargas’s leg because “he always wore football socks with coloured stripes”. Elsewhere, recollections of suicide attempts, profound feelings of shame, and other PTSD-shaped reactions are recounted, at one point via an ad hoc, multinational garage band.

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Source: theguardian
Theatre of War review – raw wounds and redemption in Falklands docu-fiction