Kirby Dick Brings The Invisible War to UCI; Oscar-Nominated Doc on Military Sex Assaults

Categories: Film, School Daze
Women in combat is a hot topic and Kirby Dick is a hot documentary filmmaker.

Both are coming to UC Irvine Tuesday, when Dick's Academy Award-nominated documentary The Invisible War will be screened, followed by a panel discussion featuring the provocative director and the lead attorney in several class action suits against the military for the assaults of its servicewomen.

The Invisible War includes on-camera interviews with veterans from several branches of the American military detailing the sexual assaults they experienced and how their superiors minimized them or covered them up. Most viewers leave the film believing something must be done to change military justice--Defense Secretary Leon Panetta being among them. He has said seeing The Invisible War last April contributed to his reversing policy to have all sexual assault cases handled by senior officers at the rank of colonel or higher. Units handled such prosecutions internally before. Dick and his producers applauded Panetta but still advocated moving assault cases outside the military.

Jonathan Hahn of the Los Angeles Times Review of Books called The Invisible War "easily one of the most important films of the yea," and New York Times film reviewer A.O. Scott wrote that it confirms Dick is "one of the indispensable muckrakers of American cinema, zeroing in on frequently painful stories about how power functions in the absence or failure of accountability."

We'll discover Feb. 24 whether Dick and his picture pick up the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. He was nominated before for Twist of Faith, which is about sexual assaults within the Catholic Church and did win other awards from peers, critics and festivals, as did Dick's hilarious blast at the Motion Picture Association ratings board, This Film is Not Yet Rated.

The university's Women's Law Society presents The Invisible War and post-screening lecture that also includes Susan Burke, who currently has five lawsuits in federal court regarding sexual assaults in the military, including one case featured in the documentary that she is scheduled to argue before the Fourth Circuit in March.

The film rolls at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, with the panel discussion beginning between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. and a reception after that. It's all free, but you have to lock up a seat in advance. for more details:

For more about the film:

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