March 13, 2022 by pearsonkl
The film “Inextinguishable Fire” by Haron Farocki protests the use of chemicals in war and wars for profit through a “deep dive” into the Dow chemical company and its role in the Vietnam war. Visual examples, like the two clips above, are used throughout the film to push the horrors of the use of napalm in war and to identify who is really to blame. However, Farocki strategically uses visuals that make the viewers uncomfortable and ones that might seem insensible in hopes to grab their attention more successfully.
In the first clip, Farocki is set at a table. He takes a lit cigarette and puts it out on his arm. As he does this, he is explaining the differing temperatures of cigarettes and napalm to make the audience understand the pain napalm causes. He uses something more probable and understandable on a personal level. The likelihood that someone watching was burnt by a cigarette before is much higher than someone watching was inflicted with napalm.
In the second clip, there is a man who claims to be a “worker” at the factory. He holds a vacuum in one hand and a gun in the other. He is displaying how one can never be sure what can stem from a product. Anything made can be used for good or evil depending on who is using it. His statements seem outlandish until you view them in the context of chemical warfare.