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Flag Wars (2003)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 10 March 2003 (USA)
"Flag Wars" is a cinema verite documentary that follows the conflicts that arise when gay white professionals move into a black working-class neighborhood. Filmed over a four years in ... See full summary »


Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras (co-director)
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Composed of images filmed at Ground Zero in September 2001, two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. The soundtrack is composed of the National Anthem recorded in October 2001 at the Yankees' World Series Game 4 in New York. The solo vocal recording has been looped and sampled to form a deconstructed version of the national anthem.

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Credited cast:
Nina Masseria Nina Masseria ... Herself
Floyd Goode Floyd Goode ... Himself
Josephine Goode Josephine Goode ... Herself
Shango Baba Olugbala Shango Baba Olugbala ... Himself (as Chief Shango Baba Olugbala)
Linda R. Mitchell Linda R. Mitchell ... Herself
Richard C. Pfeiffer Richard C. Pfeiffer ... Himself - Judge (as Judge Richard C. Pfeiffer)
Jim Yoder Jim Yoder ... Himself
Chuck Spingola Chuck Spingola ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kathleen Bailey Kathleen Bailey ... Herself
Daniel Barber Daniel Barber
Randy Black Randy Black ... Himself
Roger Bohn Roger Bohn ... Himself
Shirley Bowen Shirley Bowen
Thomas Cambell Thomas Cambell
Sue Carpenter Sue Carpenter ... Herself


"Flag Wars" is a cinema verite documentary that follows the conflicts that arise when gay white professionals move into a black working-class neighborhood. Filmed over a four years in Columbus, Ohio, "Flag Wars" leads viewers on an eye-opening journey into a divided community. Written by Anonymous

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Not Rated






Release Date:

10 March 2003 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Columbus, Ohio, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

The producers thank the residents of the near east side/olde towne east of Columbus, Ohio and others. Without your generosity of spirit and honesty, this film would not have been possible. See more »


Follows Flag Wars Community Forum (2003) See more »


Flag Wars Theme
Composed by Graham Haynes
Performed by Graham Haynes, coronet
Ted Cruz, piano
Judith Insell (as Judith Insell-Staak), viola
Marlene Rice, violin
Nioka Workman, cello
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User Reviews

A Solid Doc
28 November 2007 | by groggoSee all my reviews

'Flag Wars' is a moody documentary that vividly shows controlled urban chaos, racism, homophobia and class conflict without self-consciously making judgments; the viewer does that.

The film is concerned with the gentrification of a historic downtown Columbus, Ohio neighborhood that had once been designated a black ghetto. It's a familiar story: people want to move back downtown from the suburbs, back to trendy areas where the so-called 'action' is. The previously much-avoided ghetto has become prime (and profitable) real estate.

In this film, we see and hear the insufferable, bourgeois ramblings of these gentrifiers (investment is the meaning of life) at dinner parties. There is a hard-ass lesbian realtor, who shifts between colonial language about blacks to praise for unbridled capitalism to thoughtful (albeit tipsy) insights about rapacious gentrification (the woman harbours a secret guilty conscience).

The film offers wonderful portraits: Linda, confused, overwhelmed and emotionally disturbed; a black Yoruba priest fighting for the right to use his house as a makeshift museum; elderly blacks who are bewildered by the dramatic shifts in their neighborhood; and exasperated, God-like Judge Pfeiffer, besieged by a blizzard of zoning laws, upon which he must pass judgment and attempt (impossibly of course) to make everyone happy.

Some reviewers have called this a film about discrimination against lesbians and gay men. But they are the primary gentrifiers in this film, so sexual orientation should be a non-issue. These men and women were profiteers (often obnoxiously so), and to categorize them as 'victims' is to avoid the obvious: they exploit the lower levels of society, and that's no different than the legions of heterosexuals who do the same.

I was disturbed by this film, and that's a good thing. A documentary that disturbs has done its job.

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