Point and Shoot | Marshall Curry
Filmmaker Marshall Curry’s documentary about ex-Gaddafi prisoner and self-styled freedom fighter Matthew VanDyke is both mesmerising and disturbing. VanDkye is well known for being captured by Gaddafi forces during the Libyan civil war and for his choice to remain in Libya and re-join the National Liberation Army rather than return back to the United States.
Curry has certainly chosen an interesting character – VanDyke left the comfort of middle class America after graduating from a Masters at prestigious Georgetown University to travel across Africa and the Middle-East on a bike in a bid to find his identity. After a return stint back in the US, and with his experiences still fresh, the political situation caused by the Arab spring saw him return to take arms as a revolutionary fighter in Libya working to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
Idealistic and with a penchant for posing on camera in cameo, VanDyke films his every moment fighting to overthrow the Gaddafi government and it’s precisely this that makes for engrossing but sometimes uncomfortable viewing.
The film raises very important questions concerning the role that foreign fighters may have in conflicts around the world, particularly in light of recent allegations of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.
It is legally and morally wrong for a citizen of another country to take up arms against another government? Where does one draw the line if it is viewed as acceptable to be a revolutionary fighter in a foreign war, but not acceptable if you’re wanting to fight for the state? Interspersed with interviews with VanDyke Point and Shoot is a must see for those interested in the events in Libya and for those interested in the psychology of foreign fighters.
This article was originally published at Right Now: Human Rights in Australia, an edited version is below.