“A Lynchian Nightmare of right-wing America” Total Film
Having screened at BFI London Film Festival, the film explores ‘the deep bonds between Hollywood’s fictionalized conflicts and America’s hidden wars’ through a complex portrayal of controversial US soldier, whistle-blower and ex-presidential candidate Bo Gritz, taking us to a world before President Trump.
Bo Gritz is one of America’s highest decorated Vietnam veterans and the alleged real-life inspiration behind Rambo, Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith (The A Team) and Brando’s Colonel Kurtz (Apocalypse Now). Gritz was at the heart of American military and foreign policy – both overt and covert – from the Bay of Pigs to Afghanistan, before turning against Washington as a whistle-blower and launching anti-government training programmes.
Today he lives in the Nevada desert where he once secretly trained Afghan Mujahedeen, is loved by his community, and still admired as a hero figure by white supremacists for his role in the Ruby Ridge siege in 1992.
Filmed over ten years, Zimmerman’s film is an artist’s perspective of an individual and a country in crisis. Deploying confessional and exploratory interviews, news and cultural footage, creative re-enactment and previously unseen archive material, the film proposes a multi-layered investigation of war as a social structure and contemporary American society in all its dizzying complexity and contradictions.
It’s about how we make the world we inhabit, how we fabricate history for a certain purpose, how we all inhabit a sort of structural violence. Andrea Zimmerman