Harun Farocki, Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1988, Germany, 75 min)
This is a classic essay film that asks us to consider the relationship between knowledge and sight, knowledge and images, and knowledge and expectation. In 1944, American military evaluators were given aerial footage showing an IG Farben Industrial plant, which they intended to bomb. Also visible in the photograph is a concentration camp and crematorium. It would have been easy, on this mission, to take a little turn and bomb the ovens. But the U.S military did not do that, and did not in fact realize what the photos showed until 1977, when a pair of CIA investigators starting going through World War II files. Taking this event and these images as its point of departure, the film also considers colonial identification pictures taken of Arab Women, and the role of photography in art. In many ways it parallels Paul Virilio's book War and Cinema, and is considered by many to be a masterpiece of the essay-film form and of political filmmaking.
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