Uncle Sam wants you

WITH FILMS 'American Teen', 'American Son' and 'An American Soldier' all premiering at the Sundance film festival this week, it seems apparent why filmmaker Edet Belzberg might change the last title at the last minute to avoid it getting lost in the mix.

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Published: Tue 22 Jan 2008, 11:04 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:08 PM

But Belzberg insists her film "was originally called 'The Recruiter'," and then I changed it to 'An American Soldier', and when I changed it back for whatever reason, I had no idea those other films existed."

She said she chose to make 'The Recruiter' at the height of the Iraq war "because I was unsatisfied with the news coverage, I wanted to know more about what was happening, and so I got a subscription to the Army Times and that's when I learned about Sergeant Usie."

Sergeant First Class Clay Usie of Houma, Louisiana, is one of the most successful Army recruiters in the United States of late.

Not to be confused, documentary film 'American Teen' by Nanette Burstein follows four teenagers in a small Indiana town through their senior year of high school, exposing their jealousies, insecurities, cliques, first loves and heartbreak, sex and alcohol experimentation, parental pressures and struggle to make decisions about the future.

Burstein's 'On the Ropes' won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 1999.

Director Neil Abramson's drama 'American Son' is a coming of age story about a young man who joins the US Marines, framed by his 96-hour leave before shipping off to Iraq.

Similarly, Belzberg's 'The Recruiter' follows four new recruits from their dying days of high school when they first meet Sergeant Usie through to their Iraq deployment, offering a candid glimpse of their motivations, and later their regrets or delight at having joined the military.

"Some joined in hopes of benefits or getting a college education (paid for by the military) while others are just eager to join for the adventure," Belzberg explains.

As well, the film explores the difficulties recruiters face during a time of war with no mandatory draft to fill the US Army's depleting ranks, and public disquiet about the war.

In one telling scene in the film of the hardships of recruiting, four dead soldiers from the same town killed in a single attack in Iraq are mourned.

'It's kind of horrific'

After a legendary career playing to sold-out stadiums, Bono and the Edge did what their fans have done for years - they stood in line to see a U2 concert.

That concert was 'U2 3D', a film of the band's 2005-06 Vertigo tour, shot at several shows in South America with new 3D technology.

"I was really hoping we weren't crap after all these years. Luckily we weren't," the Edge told the Associated Press Saturday before the band donned plastic glasses to watch the movie's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

"It's kind of horrific," to watch himself on stage in 3D, said Bono. "Its bad enough on a small screen. Now you get so see the lard arse 40-foot tall."

Bono said he loved playing to the enthusiastic audiences of Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro.

"Irish people are essentially Latin people who don't know how to dance," he said. "When people are screaming and roaring and shouting, the humbling thing is to realise it's not really for the band or artist on the stage. It's for their connection with the songs. A song just can own you ... . I think that's why concerts are so powerful. If that song is such a part of your life, and you hear it, it's too much almost."

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