Throbbing speed metal blasting through the sound system of combat tanks. Gospel choirs with soaring choruses punctuated by background explosions. Prayers for safety expressed in the strums of country lullabies. These are the sounds of the Iraq war...... Read Full Episode Summary »
Throbbing speed metal blasting through the sound system of combat tanks. Gospel choirs with soaring choruses punctuated by background explosions. Prayers for safety expressed in the strums of country lullabies. These are the sounds of the Iraq war as heard and performed by the young U.S. soldiers who are fighting there now. <I>VH1 News Presents: Soundtrack To War</I> is an intimate, raw look at the power of music in wartime. Tanks and helicopters were wired to broadcast a soundtrack to war, which the soldiers will forever link with the violent events they witnessed. Australian filmmaker George Gittoes bypassed US military chaperones to work alone with a camera, gaining a unique level of trust on the frontlines of Baghdad when American tanks pushed their way into the city. Often, music served as inspiration while bullets flew. Soldiers confided to Gittoes how various songs help psyche themselves up before battle, such as Drowning Pool's "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor", Mystikal's "Round Out The Tank" and Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad." Talking about their music freed the soldiers to open up about the experiences they had been through. As the war extended into its second year, many soldiers started writing and making music. In quiet, non-combat moments, Gittoes found that sharing and performing songs helped soldiers survive. <I>Soundtrack To War</I> showcases spontaneous music performances by a striking cast of the battle weary, made without rehearsal, under the blaring Iraqi sun, against the backdrop of a destroyed city. It's almost like "Iraqi Idol" with the nation's military also proving to be gifted performers, in genres that include R&B, country, gospel and even metal. Some of Gittoes footage was used in the Michael Moore documentary <I>Fahrenheit 9/11</I>. The DVD release of Moore's film will promote <I>Soundtrack To War</I>. But the VH1 presentation provides Gittoes' original vision, an unvarnished "you-are-there" account without polemics. Gittoes traveled alone to Iraq four times to make the film. He was there during Saddam's last days, when Shock and Awe struck and the American troops came rolling into Baghdad. He returned when the Coalition occupation had gained a tenuous hold, and was there during the bloody reversals of April-May 2004. Gittoes has been working on the theme of cultures in conflict since the 1980s. He has shot in many dangerous regions of the world including Afghanistan, China, Philippines, Russia, Middle East, Africa, Northern Ireland, and Nicaragua.