If Vietnam was the first televised war and the Gulf War could be considered the first 24-hour coverage war (thanks to CNN), then the Iraq War might be called the most-first-hand-documented. Thanks to the more-immediate technologies of digital filmmaking, documentaries have been in abundance since the beginning of the conflict, giving us everything from ground-troop-shot films to quickly released looks at its aftermath. At this year's Tribeca Film Festival, films took us into battle alongside American soldiers (The War Tapes) and Iraqi insurgents (The Blood of My Brother) and brought us back home with the vets (When I Came Home; Home Front). Despite an overload of these documentaries, there still can't be enough of them, as they provide us with countless points of view and an immeasurable acquaintance with the reality of the ins and outs of the war.
Patricia Foulkrod's The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends, which screened at this year's Sundance Film Festival, could be considered just another film about the homecoming of U.S. troops and their difficult return to civilian life, but despite its sharing two faces with When I Came Home (featured interviewees Paul Reickhoff and Herold Noel), the differences between the two films mark an apparent allowance for numerous looks into the subject matter. While covering Tribeca, I actually decided to skip the Iraqi vet pic Home Front, thinking it would be hard to handle too many similar films (it screened the same day as When I Came Home and The Blood of My Brother). Now I feel that there is no such thing as too many when it comes to understanding this or any war. It is the same reason that movies about WWII and Vietnam will continue to be made; the difference is that with documentaries, the immediacy of the truth seems to hit a little harder.