2001, documentary film, 70 min.

The film consists of a series of testimonial interviews with several Vietnam veterans and a conversation with former war correspondent Michel Herr, who discuss how the attraction of violence and destruction pertains to soldiers and the practice of war, and how war instigates these desires, which can become fascinating and addictive. Fragments of each interview forge ahead next to each other and unobtrusively tell how individuals could find pleasure in murdering civilians, whereas the common representation of war often remains focused on the atrocities committed, and the horror and fear experienced by its victims. The scenes showing visitors-spectators from the former war zones in Vietnam and an exhibition of war documentary fitfully appear and strengthen a critical reflection on our consumptive reception of war images and non-ingrained memory, and furthermore our capacity of resistance. The hypothesis uttered by Herr under his breath, “If war was hell and only hell… I don’t think people would continue to make war,” makes us ponder what constitutes the understructure of wars that persist along with human history.

Coco Schrijber, born 1961, lives and works in Amsterdam. Selected films: Een Waardeloos Sprookje, 2005; Mooie Wereld, 2004; Niet Groot, Niet Klein, 1997; Lunch in Budapest, 1996; In Motion, 1994.