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‘The war is so young’: masculinity and war correspondence in Welcome to Sarajevo and Territorio Comanche.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2005
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Journal number2
Volume2
Number of pages10
Pages115-124
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The paradigm faced by war correspondents can be paralleled to that encountered by ethnographic observers in that, while often claiming to merely watch, they cannot but become involved in the situation before them. The war correspondent is determined not only by his or her culture, but also by the constraints of the discourses of war reporting. Also, and, perhaps more importantly, they are clearly influenced by the ratings that their items have to attract. This is apparent in two films located during the siege of Sarajevo (1992–95), which were made soon after the Bosnian War ended: Gerardo Herrero's Territorio Comanche (1997), and Michael Winterbottom's Welcome to Sarajevo (1996). In both films, the directors present the work of journalists as enabling audiences to see events from their armchairs; so that our voyeurism renders us accomplices in the presentation of war as spectacle. Ultimately both films bring home the impossibility of neutral reporting and demonstrate how claims to stand aside can be seen as nothing but political positions that are as ethical (or unethical) as they are utopian. In addition, although the directors set out to criticize war, the films deal with gender stereotypes that effectively undermine their challenge.