Last night the ABC screened one of the most disturbing documentaries I’ve seen in a long while. Soundtrack To War is George Gittoes’ film of the tunes playing inside the tanks rolling through Baghdad, the soldiers driving them, and the people of the city still making music.
The endless banality of horror as entertainment was something I was really concerned with during making extermination, which culminated in a satanic mass to Slayer’s Reign In Blood. During this film, this track and the band, more than any other was the music that accompanied the images, a disturbing irruption of the very ‘real’ for me I had tried to implant in my work.
The Age wrote a good piece on the documentary which also aired in the US on VH1 earlier in August.
“There’s a whole generation that doesn’t watch the news any more,” says Gittoes from New York on the eve of the documentary’s broadcast in the US.
A frequent visitor to war zones and political hot spots, 54-year-old Gittoes has travelled to Iraq four times since the outbreak of hostilities to make this film, in which American soldiers and Iraqis reveal themselves and their troubles through the music that they listen to and create for themselves.
His decision to tailor what would become Soundtrack to War to young audiences was cemented when he marched in a prewar protest rally in Washington. “It was all people my age and their 30-year-old children. It was like a Forrest Gump nostalgia trip and I thought there had to be a better way. If you’re going to make relevant documentaries that will get to this audience in America, you have to make it for (channel) VH1.”