A Land for War

Directed by Enid Baxter Ryce.
US, 2017, DCP, color, 50 min.

Filmed over a ten-year span, A Land for War captures the transformation of landscape over time and its deep-rooted connection to memory. Focusing on Fort Ord, a historic United States Army post located in coastal California, Ryce intertwines her own material with archival footage of the area from 1969, when the post served as a basic training site for drafted American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Layers of murals and graffiti art—painted by stationed soldiers and added to by civilians over the years—illustrate how the landscape itself serves as a memory stratum that encapsulates the lives of the people who once inhabited the grounds and the veterans who continue to reside in the area. The land undergoes a more dramatic effacement as demolition clears the way for modern housing and commercial developments. Through merging perspectives of space over time, Ryce reveals Fort Ord’s impact on the people and the land connected and engulfed by the post’s existence. – AV

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