War and Peace recounts the centuries-old relationship between cinema and war, from their first meeting back in 1911, on the occasion of the Italian invasion in Libya, to the present day.
From the sequences filmed by the pioneers of cinema to today's smart-phone footage shot by the citizens of the world, the step seems very short and the relationship between cinema and war is very solid.
War and peace is a reflection on images and, as in a great novel divided into four chapters - remote past, near past, present and future -, it tries to recompose the fragments of visual memory from the early 1900s to the present and stages the multiplication of the visions that, like a constant background noise, accompany our current existences.
Four important European institutions host the narration of our film and constitute the solid space-time framework. A framework in which peace and war seem to coexist and keep each other at bay.
From the constant work of research and restoration of ancient war films at the Istituto Luce in Rome; to the daily life of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Crisis Unit with its monitors permanently lit up on the world; from the training of young soldiers who learn how to produce war images at the Ecpad (Military Archive and Image Agency of the French Ministry of Defence); to the preservation of the precious archives of the International Red Cross kept at the Swiss Film Library in Lausanne, War and Peace tells us how the aesthetics of war, much more than the aesthetics of peace, has always accompanied us, reflecting and projecting itself into the ephemeral present that surrounds us.
War and Peace questions the consequences of war, the meaning of history and the preservation of memory for the benefit of future generations.
--Dir. Massimo D'Anolfi and Martina Parenti - 128min - 2020 - Italy, Switzerland--
"From restored early 20th-century footage to the current unrest in Syria, a probing reassessment of the supposed neutrality of the camera...photography is more than a witness" - The Guardian
"War and Peace is an invitation to reflect upon the relationship between images and conflict...The idea at the heart of D'Anolfi and Parenti’s doc is to turn the very places in which war images are conserved into the film’s protagonists." - Cineuropa
"cinema became both a witness, advocate, warning, and manipulator when it joined war on the battlefield." - Modern Times Review