Drone | Chicago Reader

Drone

78 minutes 2014

Norwegian filmmaker Tonje Hessen Schei’s examination of the CIA drone war stings like a splash of iodine on a fresh cut: painful but necessary. Though multiple facets of the drone conflict are scrutinized, this well-researched documentary (which originally aired in 2014 on the Franco-German TV station Arte) primarily focuses on the people on either side of the bombings, from U.S. drone builders and operators to Pakistani civilians who wonder why their death toll continues to rise if they are not the intended targets.Drone warfare’s lucrative and troublesome role in the U.S. military-industrial complex is exemplified by two of the film’s talking heads: Brandon Bryant, a traumatized former drone operator who testified before the United Nations about the dehumanizing effect of distance in warfare; and human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who in one wrenching scene helps Waziristani villagers blanket their rooftops with blown-up photographs of their children. In English, Urdo, and Pushto with subtitles. 78 min. — Leah Pickett

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