Following a platoon of female cadets through basic training at Georgia’s Fort Gordon, Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill’s 1981 documentary endures as a comical and often critical look at the military industrial complex. The film’s subjects have enlisted for a myriad of reasons, ranging from genuine patriotism to socioeconomic circumstance. But once the women begin training, they find themselves performing strange drills, encountering stranger drill sergeants, and experiencing no shortage of sadism and prejudice. In her collaborations with Broomfield, Churchill’s work is always impeccable, but it’s especially striking here, where her dual role as cinematographer and director intensifies her already complicated relationship to the subject.
Broomfield’s newest documentary, My Father and Me, makes its North American premiere on Oct. 5 & 8. Get tickets here.