(Hartmut Bitomsky, USA, 2001)


The renowned German radical filmmaker Harmut Bitomsky – comrade of Haroun Farocki – provides an outstanding assemblage of diverse materials in B-52, his chilling account of American military history.

Bitomsky leans more toward the techniques of the intellectual essay-film (a mode associated with Chris Marker) than Frederick Wiseman‘s observational style, but he shares Wiseman’s delight in blending everything (clips, interviews, shots of objects and landscapes) into an aesthetic whole.

Like Wiseman, Bitomsky does not spell out his interpretation of what he shows. Instead, he allows us to grasp his viewpoint through the entire, evolving structure of the work.

Bitomsky’s act of ideological camouflage was obviously so good, he was able to gain access to extraordinary archives of the military’s audiovisual material.

© Adrian Martin July 2002

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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