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Bulletproof Salesman (2008)

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Fidelis Cloer is a self-confessed war profiteer who found The Perfect War when the US invaded Iraq. It wasn't about selling a dozen cars, or even a hundred, it was a thousand-car war where security would become the ultimate product.
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Within days of the coalition forces entering Baghdad, Fidelis Cloer has arrived as well. He sells armored cars. Over the next few years, he sells more than 200 in Iraq. We watch him examine the wreckage of destroyed vehicles, gathering information on how to improve his product. He talks about his competition. We visit a testing center in Bavaria where Cloer's researchers blow up vehicles. Talking to the camera, Cloer gives advice on safety and blending in. Near the end of the film, he's in Kabul, repeating his pattern of research and sales. He's philosophical, confident he'll always have work. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Important and Disturbing film about the Economics of War
10 March 2008 | by (Austin, TX, United States) – See all my reviews

This disturbing film had its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. It is a troubling film about a man who makes it his business to make money as a war profiteer and is proud of it. German war profiteer Fidelis Cloer clearly enjoys his work selling armored cars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a microcosm of the capitalist system. He exists to make money and war is simply an extension of business to him. He wants to make the best product and sell it and thus protect his clients. He doesn't seem to care that his products are used as part of a war machine. He seems to have no political conscience or concern. He went to Iraq at the beginning of the war in 2003, because he believed things would get worse and there would be an opportunity to profit.

This is the 3rd Iraq war film by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker and like the others it is a powerful picture of the nature and excesses of war. Where the others were more specifically about elements of the Iraq War, this film is more about the nature of war itself and the infrastructure of people and economics that support it. Cloer is ultimately a bloodless weapon of war just like the equipment that he sells.

Like their other films, they let the characters speak for themselves cinema verite style without providing commentary and analysis. This can be both a strength and a weakness. In this case, Cloer seems to call out for commentary, context and analysis that the film doesn't provide. Some context would strengthen their film and make their points clearer to a wider audience. This film should be seen, because it raises fundamental questions about the nature of the relationship between war and capitalism.

I think that the filmmakers actually related to Cloer, because they understood that in some way they are also war profiteers making money off of the violence of war. On the other hand, they should consider whether Cloer is using them to advertise his products and make more money off of war. It is difficult to determine whether the film ends up exposing Cloer or promoting him. Perhaps a bit of both.


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