Alan Gorg’s short film Peace & War is actually a trilogy of three smaller pieces (similar to his other film trilogy peace, Prophecy & Pollution). In this project, the three segments are War Investment Seminar, How to Jump Start Your War and Peace Protest.
All three segments are a seminar or lecture-style presentation of crude black & white animations of historical figures as they narrate over archival news and other historical footage to make their various points. In the War Investment Seminar piece, roughly drawn speakers such as John D. Rockefeller and Prescott Bush explain the role of companies, corporations and investment bankers in the creation of, and the profiting from, wars throughout history. It’s a smattering of numbers, covering profits, investments and human casualties.
In segment two, How to Jump Start Your War, Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels explains the three necessary components for starting any major conflict in the world: Mobilization, Provocation and Invasion. The rest of the segment then includes examples of how these components existed and were exploited in the creation of World War II and also in the wars of Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.
The final segment, Peace Protest, utilizes speakers such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus as they talk about how some of the examples of war previously mentioned were conquered by ordinary people standing up and protesting for what was right.
All three segments suffer from similar problems, though some fare better than others. For one, the various accents employed by the different narrators, while no doubt an effort to be realistic and differentiate the characters in the piece, are sometimes a bit too challenging on the ear. It’s hard to digest the information coming in if you’re reacting in an auditory cringe. The segments also are sometimes devoid of a musical soundtrack, and other times overwhelmed. While I can understand the usage of the music in the pieces, and where they fall, usually when showing archival footage or imagery, the utter lack of music in the animation pieces makes everything seem dissonant. Maybe that is on purpose.
Of the three pieces, How to Jump Start Your War handles itself best. It presents a very simple logic, and then goes about giving examples to back up that logic (explaining the three components of starting a war, and then showing examples of their existence in all conflicts it studies). In that way, it is easy to follow and even easier to digest and remember, and therefore makes a more lasting impact.
War Investment Seminar, however, throws so many numbers at you that you wonder what more there is to it other than the fact that it points out that there are people throughout history that have profited from war (which is hardly new or surprising information). And while this segment tries to let the numbers do all the talking, the Peace Protest sequence errs in oversimplifying situations to give the illusion that certain protest incidents were the main reason for the cessation of war, as opposed to just being one part of the cessation process. Whereas How to Jump Start Your War was so well-done with making its points and backing them up, Peace Protest fails due to the lack of such structure.
While the animation/narration/archival footage mix got tiresome for me, even at only roughly 30 minutes in length, I do think that the How to Jump Start Your War sequence succeeds and is worth seeing.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.