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Image of the day. Cinema Can Be a Startling Document

The headline may seem obvious in these incredible days of surplus moving images (in both senses of the term) of the Middle Eastern revolutions, but let's not forget within the immediacy of the action of moving images (things happening) can lay a startling and equally immediate reality (that right there is something).

Case in point—accompanying the above image in John Ford's short documentary This Is Korea! (1951) the line by an unknown screenwriter: "Where that guy is with the rifle is the front of the war." What was shocking about this moment of the film, which I saw last week, was the realization that this unnamed cameraman captured an intangible and abstract idea forever bandied about during war ("the front") and in an instant like any other grounded it in documentary: these five figures (and cameraman), this land, that sky, that hill, uncrested, the literal edge of a national conflict...

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