On Tuesday, April 15, 7:30 pm, the Walker Art Center presents a special advance screening of Errol Morris’ latest documentary
Standard Operating Procedure
, and the director will participate in a post-screening Q&A with the audience. Groundbreaking Academy Award–winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War) investigates what he calls “the mystery” behind the images that shocked the world, the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Utilizing more than 200 hours of interviews with Americans who served at the prison, the film calls into question the blurred lines between followers and leaders, humiliation and torture, and “standard operating procedure” and creative license. “Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini,” Roger Ebert has said. “After 20 years of reviewing films, I haven’t found another filmmaker who intrigues me more.” Morris’ latest is guaranteed to provoke discussion, debate, and a deeper understanding of the nature of culpability inherent in these events. 2008, 35mm, 116 minutes.
Is it possible for a photograph to change the world? Photographs taken by soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison changed the war in Iraq and changed America’s image of itself. Yet, a central mystery remains. Did the notorious Abu Ghraib photographs constitute evidence of systematic abuse by the American military, or were they documenting the aberrant behavior of a few “bad apples?”
Standard Operating Procedure sets out to examine the context of these photographs. Why were they taken? What was happening outside the frame? The filmmaker talked directly to the soldiers who took the photographs and who were in the photographs. Who are these people? What were they thinking? Over two years of investigation, Morris amassed a million and a half words of interview transcript, thousands of pages of unredacted reports, and hundreds of photographs. The story of Abu Ghraib is still shrouded in moral ambiguity, but it is clear what happened there.
Following the screening, Morris will participate in a Q & A. Photographs by Nubar Alexanian, who has been granted unrestricted access to the sets of Errol Morris for the past 15 years, will be on view in the Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab before and after the screening, and Alexanian will be available to sign copies of his new book, Nonfiction: Photographs by Nubar Alexanian from the Film Sets of Errol Morris.
Please note: in order to accommodate this screening of Standard Operating Procedure, it was necessary to move the previously scheduled screening of Milo Forman’s The Firemen’s Ball (Hoří, má panenko) to Wednesday, April 16, 7:30 pm, in the Walker Cinema.
Tickets to Standard Operating Procedure are $12 ($10 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600. The screening takes place in the Walker Cinema.