The Battle of San Pietro

Huston’s film about a battle in Italy called The Battle of San Pietro (1945) appears to be a straightforward depiction of a gruesome battle and an example of the many horrors that went on during the war. In the film, he begins with a simple interview of a soldier explaining the strategic objective of the battle of San Pietro, how both sides knew they needed to hold the city in order to control the valley, but also how they knew it was going to be a very bloody and costly fight. The rest of the film, again narrated by Huston himself, is a tragic memorial to the lives lost in the conflict, consisting of what seemed to be actual war footage. In his autobiography, Huston described the making of the film as a harrowing, death-defying enterprise in war photography, when in fact it was completely staged.


– from the upcoming book “How to Film the Truth: The Story of Documentary Film As a Spiritual Journey” to be released in the Summer of 2018 by Wipf & Stock