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Occupation: Dreamland (2005)

Unrated | | Documentary, War | 19 May 2006 (Italy)
In January, 2004, in Al-Falluja, Iraq, a documentary film crew follows an infantry squad of the 82nd Airborne, US Army. Cameras accompany the squad of seven on day and night patrols, as ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Matthew Bacik ...
Chris Corcione ...
Eric Forbes ...
Patrick Napoli ...
Thomas Turner ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Blyer ...
Robert McGuire ...
Ryan Mish ...
Himself - Staff Sergeant
Austin Nichols ...
Luis Pacheco ...
Himself - Alpha Company Medic
Bryan Rowland ...
Joseph Wood ...


In January, 2004, in Al-Falluja, Iraq, a documentary film crew follows an infantry squad of the 82nd Airborne, US Army. Cameras accompany the squad of seven on day and night patrols, as they watch their backs, kick down doors, search for weapons, interrogate women, detain a few people, and listen to the complaints of locals. At their barracks, a former Baathist retreat called Dreamland, the men talk: about why they enlisted, civilian prospects, feelings about the war and Iraqis, where they were when a comrade died a few weeks before. We see them wait for translators and try a few words of Arabic; we hear their frustrations. We watch them pressured to reenlist. Tensions mount in Falluja. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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User Reviews

daily life of occupation soldiers in Falluja
14 October 2005 | by (Albuquerque, USA) – See all my reviews

This is yet another winner from Garrett Scott and Ian Olds, who also did Cul-De-Sac: A Suburban War Story, but this one will be available on DVD at some point.

Scott and Olds follow seven or eight squad members of the 505th battalion of the 82nd airborne around Falluja in the weeks before the final siege that destroyed the city. We get to see these guys how they really are, not how Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan portrays soldiers (in idealized Hollywood robot super patriot tough guy fashion).

Scott and Olds go on patrols and missions with the guys to arrest suspected insurgents or defend meetings of important Iraqis, and you see how difficult it is for them to do their jobs. They spend 5% of their time supporting reconstruction, and the other 95% trying to hunt down attackers who are merely opposed to the presence of occupation forces.

They are from all points of view, some who support Bush and the war, and others who don't, but they all seem intelligent and think a lot more about why they're there than most of the politicians who sent them (of course it's their lives on the line and they won't simply take someone's word for it that there is a good purpose behind it). They question what they would do if they were in the place of the Iraqis who shoot at them almost every day, they know there is a better way to solve Iraq's problems, but none of them has the power as low ranking individuals to do what they know works better or undertake anything massive to help the Iraqis who plead with them everyday for jobs, electricity, gas, water, food, school supplies, and so on. Disillusioned, they forge ahead with their mission with a sense of duty and but no sense of accomplishment.

Most of the guys seem genuinely concerned with Iraqs, and some of them confess that after being shot at so much and seeing friends die they just can't like them, and even hate them. All of them are open with their opinions of the situation, their own circumstances regarding their original recruitment, continued enlistment, and hopes and dreams, which is something we can't get from scripted town hall meetings via satellite between President Bush and the troops.

Just as interesting, we get to see Falluja as it was, and all interaction with Iraqis is subtitled so we hear it directly from them, men and women and children of all ages. There is no evidence of the Islamic fundamentalists the Marines just weeks later undertook to destroy. Some of those arrested are clearly insurgents, and some...you never know for sure. There's a depressing parallel between the lack of jobs and education in Falluja and the lack of jobs and education that prompted most of the squad to join up and what they will face when they are demobbed.

According to the director, all of them squad members featured have seen the film and love it, and some folks at the Pentagon have even watched it to get insights into what their men are really feel about the war. In the viewing I attended, there were Iraqis, former soldiers (both Vietnam and some more recently demobilized guys), and at least one Afghani, and they all seemed to like the film. It's a service to the troops because it lets them speak for themselves for once at length, unlike in short articles, and it's an excellent record of the reality of the war from an undeniable point of view, not filtered through papers and news correspondents and politicians with pro-war points of view or at least a fear of being called unpatriotic. Ironically enough, it's probably the most pro-troops, anti-war film of all because it's honest and deals with the men as human beings like us or our friends and family.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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