W Image


By David Finkelstein | September 29, 2004

This short, powerful response to the war in Iraq, shows a collage of images shot at the Quantico National Cemetery, as well as images of flag-draped coffins culled from a web site. The images are beautifully arranged as floating rectangles which drift in front of each other, in a manner which will be familiar to those who have seen Betancourt’s other films. We also see an image of George W. Bush’s face, which appears to have been constructed out of ‘pixels’ which are individual faces, possibly those of soldiers. (This video bears a startling resemblance to Matt Bucy’s recent video “Powers of Bush” in many of its visual strategies.) The soundtrack consists of a band playing “Hail to the Chief,” but cut up and looped so that it sounds a bit like being trapped in a military nightmare.

Because of the simplicity and clarity of its visual and sound structure, this video makes a powerful statement. The stark reality of the pointless deaths of Americans is juxtaposed wordlessly with the face of Bush, a face which never ceases to amaze me with the depths of its psychotic, rootless amorality. Betancourt has found a way to speak eloquently on political matters, without becoming didactic.

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