Charting ‘the deep bonds between Hollywood’s fictionalized conflicts and America’s hidden wars’, Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s ERASE AND FORGET is a new investigative documentary which charts the extraordinary life and times of Bo Gritz, one of America’s highest decorated veterans and the ‘inspiration’ for Rambo and Brando’s Colonel Kurtz.
Using never before seen archive footage of covert US operations, and interviews filmed over a ten year period, ERASE AND FORGET provides a complex perspective of an individual and a country in crisis.
ERASE AND FORGET is a compelling inquiry into the nature of human conscience which raises urgent questions about US militarism and gun control, and embodies contemporary American society in all its dizzying complexity and contradictions.
…like a Lynchian nightmare of right-wing America.
Tim Coleman, Total Film
Erase and Forget reflects the kind of ideological instability that has contributed to the US’s surreal political moment.
Jessica Loudis, Frieze
ERASE AND FORGET explores ‘the deep bonds between Hollywood’s fictionalized conflicts and America’s hidden wars’ through a complex portrayal of US soldier, whistle-blower and ex-presidential candidate Bo Gritz, taking us to a world before President Trump.
One of America’s highest decorated veterans, the ‘inspiration’ behind RAMBO, Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith (THE A-TEAM) and Brando’s Colonel Kurtz (APOCALYPSE NOW), Gritz was at the heart of American military and foreign policy – both overt and covert – from the Bay of Pigs to Afghanistan, before turning whistle-blower and launching anti-government training programmes.
Today he lives in the Nevada desert where he once secretly trained Afghan Mujahedeen, is loved by his community and still admired as a hero figure by white supremacists for his role in the Ruby Ridge siege of 1992. This event was a key turning point in the rise of the far right and militia anti-Government groups in the US.
Filmed over ten years, Zimmerman’s film is an artist’s perspective of an individual and a country in crisis, which raises urgent questions about US militarism and gun control. Deploying confessional and exploratory interviews, news and cultural footage, creative re-enactment and previously unseen archive material, ERASE AND FORGET explores the implications on a personal and collective level of identities founded on a profound, even endemic violence. It examines the propagation of that violence through Hollywood and the mass media, the arms trade and ongoing governmental policy.
Revealing the filmmaker’s own nuanced relationship with a controversial subject, without judgment and sensationalism, ERASE AND FORGET proposes a multi-layered investigation of war as a social structure, a way of being for individuals and countries in what is becoming an era of ‘permanent conflict’.
‘..like a Lynchian nightmare of right-wing America.’ Total Film ★★★★
‘The film is so loopy you end up like Laocoön, wreathed by serpents of paradox and contradiction.’ Financial Times ★★★★
‘Zimmermann marshals her material…with relentlessly thought-provoking confidence.’ Empire ★★★★
‘An especially probing portrait of a wounded man and his role in the fetishisation of state-sanctioned violence.’ Time Out ★★★★
‘This illuminating portrait of a rather broken champion is enriched by extraordinary archive footage.’ Filmuforia ★★★★
‘Gripping and jaw-dropping, it’s a documentary that needs to be seen to be believed.’ Morning Star ★★★★
‘Bo’s nonchalance when talking about his behaviour in countries such as Panama makes your jaw drop. An education.’ EVENING STANDARD
‘This is a new way to make a documentary, exploiting the bountiful public record of the Internet age.’ Variety