Dustin Guy Defa’s Declaration of War
I was on brief hiatus after finishing Filmmaker‘s Summer issue on July 3, so I missed Dustin Defa’s inspired new short Declaration of War when it debuted on VICE’s website this Independence Day. More than a week on, though, it’s still timely and relevant — and no doubt will continue to be for a long time after.
Below, from a short interview on VICE, Defa talks about the context surrounding his seven-minute film:
The edit highlights tons of playful claps, private looks, and secret conversations happening among the dignitaries during what’s supposed to be a serious public address. What’s your take on their inconsiderate attitudes?
The film is simple. I’m highlighting a sensation, and that sensation was there and in that room and in this country. But it’s interesting to watch it like this, to see that it’s almost a celebration. The applause is hypnotizing. Staring at all those hands clapping, listening to the sound of their eagerness, it feels like a great spell is being cast. I don’t think it’s too outlandish to look at it like a cult or to see it as a phenomenon similar to the hysteria of fascism. The government seized on the vulnerability of a mass confusion. It’s hard to think of any other circumstance in which Dubya could have become a kind of cult of personality. He was suddenly a hero. He was the cowboy who led us into a war to kill the bad guys. A disturbing part of that for me is seeing how much he appeared to relish that role, as did a lot of his administration. It’s greed of the highest form. Looking at the attitudes of the people who made the decision to start the War on Terror, I can’t help but see how blood-thirsty they are. Some of them look pretty damn excited to get the party started.