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Arts and Culture News

'Gunner' Documentary Tracks Surreal Story of War

In the weeks following the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field artillery Regiment -- known as the "Gunners" -- set up quarters in a war-damaged palace in Baghdad. A once-opulent lair of Uday Hussein, Saddam's son, the crumbling palace barracks serve as a backdrop to the new war documentary, Gunner Palace.

The film offers a glimpse into the day-to-day life of the soldiers on the ground. From mortar attacks and nighttime raids to palace pool parties and golf on Uday's putting green, the soldiers' experiences are at once chaotic and surreal. "For ya'll, this is just a show," a soldier reminds the camera, "but we live in this movie."

NPR's Jennifer Ludden speaks with the filmmaker, Michael Tucker.

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