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Occupation: Dreamland


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Occupation: Dreamland is an unflinchingly candid portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraqi city of Falluja during the winter of 2004. A tense and grimly humorous study of the soldiers unfolds as they patrol an environment of low-intensity conflict creeping steadily towards catastrophe. Through the squad's activities Occupation: Dreamland provides a vital glimpse into the last days of Falluja. The film documents the city's waning stability before a final series of military assaults began in the spring of 2004 that effectively destroyed it.

Occupation: Dreamland chronicles the escalating tension between its two main characters: the squad and the city. Beholden as they are to differing languages and worldviews the two antagonists collide repeatedly. A distinct sense of unease grows as the chain of misunderstanding and distrust tightens. Daylight patrols on bustling downtown streets turn from casual conversation to brief, confusing firefights while nighttime raids reveal a local populace caught in the middle. The narrative follows a downward spiral of civil destabilization and personal frustration, borne by individuals trapped on both sides.

Filmmakers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds were given access to all operations of the Army's 82nd Airborne. They lived with the unit 24/7, giving voice to soldiers held under a strict code of authority as they cope with an ambiguous, often lethal environment. The result is a revealing, sometimes surprising look at Army life, operations and the complexity of American war in the 21st century.

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