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A contemporary mirror of 1967's multidirector lefty-agitprop masterpiece Far from Vietnam, this omnibus epic plumbs the American quagmire in Central Asia from the aesthetic viewpoints of five western filmmakers assembled by John Gianvito (who also contributes a segment), plus a cadre of Afghan locals called Afghan Voices. The irony of the title is a given, but contrasting American consumer privilege and life in the weeds of Afghanistan is just one of the approaches taken. The film also offers a mosaic of satellite images of village bombings, copious first-person interviews, grunt's-eye-view battle footage, visits to a hospital and a prosthetic-limb outfitter, and so on. Less Marxist than its predecessor, it benefits from Gianvito's gimlet-eyed patience, and suffers from the other participants' sanctimony, but it remains something of a definitive statement on a runaway global disaster. The Vietnam film will screen the following evening for a then-and-now look at contrasts in political commitment.

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ARTICLES BY MICHAEL ATKINSON
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