Director: Tomáš Hoffmann Polenský

The Instrument of War/Nástroj války, Czech Republic, estimated end of shooting June 2016

Stories of people for whom killing became a way to make their living 

I belong to a generation that has avoided national military service thanks to the establishment of a professional army. However, I keep asking myself a question why someone voluntarily sets for the hell of war and takes part in fighting that often has no sense.

Tomáš Hoffmann Polenský, director

Through increasingly topical issue of our relation to war and warfare, this film will make an endeavour to uncover and treat critically often tabooed mechanisms and methods which are used to nourish in (not only) our soldiers the so-called war reflex, i.e. the ability to fight and kill. Working with former elite soldiers from the SOG unit in Afghanistan and a psychologist we gradually familiarise ourselves with the psychology of an ordinary soldier and watch his thinking and behaviour change. The film puts this transformation into a wider historical and political context.

The fact that soldiers kill is often tabooed. By looking inside the soldiers we want to investigate these taboos and to penetrate the psychology of our characters. 

In WW2, only 15 to 20% of soldiers fired a shot face to face against an enemy. Later, round targets were replaced first by human silhouettes and still later by 3D figures. As a result, the success rate of shooting increased to 90 - 95% in the Vietnam war. The soldiers learned shooting at an enemy as a reflex and overcame the natural human inhibition to kill another human being. (from the book On Killing by Dave Grossmann) 

Characters 

Former members of the elite SOG unit, which fought under British leadership in Afghanistan. It was the first Czech troop engaged in direct fighting since WW2.  During its four and a half month in Afghanistan the troop registered 160 confirmed kills. Then the unit was dissolved and thus we have an opportunity to discuss with soldiers topics that would have been taboo otherwise. 

Lumír Němec always wanted to be a soldier and to take part in fighting. Aged 42 he belonged among the oldest men who took part in fight operations. He served as the field commander at SOG in Afghanistan, currently he specialises in training of armed forces, protection of persons and buildings. He considers the time spent in war to be the best time of his life. 

Miroslav Lidinský was seriously injured by anti-tank RPG missile which hit just in between his legs and tore his left ankle. Despite two-year-long effort of doctors he lost his left leg just under knee. However, he was able to come to terms with his limit and found a new hobby. He became a member of the Czech national team and handygolf and even won the European championship. 

Charlie is not willing to disclose his identity because of the safety of his family. In military, he specialised as a signaller, sniper and medic. He spent two and a half year on foreign missions. The fight became a drug for him. Currently he works as a manager of an armaments company and is about to graduate from a marketing college.

 

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