Erase and Forget
Andrea Luka Zimmerman

Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s feature documentary is a portrait of Bo Gritz. Lt. Col. James Gordon ‘Bo’ Gritz – ‘the American Soldier’  for the Commander-in-Chief of the Vietnam War – is one of the most decorated combatants in US history. The inspiration behind RAMBO, Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith (THE A-TEAM) and Brando’s Colonel Kurtz (APOCALYPSE NOW), Gritz was at the heart of American military and foreign policy – both overt and covert – from the Bay of Pigs to Afghanistan.

Bo was financed by Clint Eastwood and William Shatner, who supported his ‘deniable’ missions searching for American POWs in Vietnam. He has exposed US government drug running, turning against the Washington elite as a result. He has run for President, created a homeland community in the Idaho Wilderness and trained Americans in strategies of counter-insurgency against the incursions of their own government.

Bo has also killed at least 400 people. Often in the most appalling ways.

He embodies contemporary American society in all its dizzying complexity and contradiction.

Today, Bo lives in the Nevada desert where he once secretly trained Afghan Mujahedeen. He is loved and admired by his community. He sleeps with many weapons. He finds it hard to sleep…

Filmed over 10 years, Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s portrait is an artist’s perspective of an individual and a country in crisis. She explores the implications on a personal and collective level of identities founded on a profound, even endemic violence. She examines the propagation of that violence through Hollywood and the mass media, the arms trade and ongoing governmental policy.

Deploying confessional and exploratory interviews, news and cultural footage, creative re-enactment and previously unseen archive material (Afghan Mujahadeen and proof of the CIA’s drug-dealing out of South East Asia), the film proposes a multi-layered investigation of war as a social structure, a way of being for individuals and countries. In what is becoming an era of ‘permanent conflict’.

Moving far beyond political reportage or investigation, necessary as they are, lies a compelling enquiry into the nature of human conscience and the limits of deniability (whether to oneself or others). When redemption is no longer an option, the psyche needs to find other ways to live with itself. ERASE AND FORGET asks what those ways might be. It looks into the heart of darkness; it looks for slivers of light.

The film world premiered at the 67th Berlinale Film Festival in 2017.

A Fugitive Images and Bright Eye Film production. Supported by The Wapping Project, Arts Council England, Film London, The Danish Film Institute.

It was released in UK cinemas in 2018 and received widespread acclaim:

EMPIRE ★★★★ this is a compelling portrait of a war hero who epitomises many Middle American concerns and convictions… a disconcerting documentary, which also doubles as an insight into the American mindset that led to the election of Donald Trump

DAILY EXPRESS ★★★ intriguing, eye-opening documentary… He comes across as a dangerous cocktail of fact and fantasy who could be the father of fake news

MORNING STAR ★★★★ this timely documentary explores the country’s militarism and its toxic love affair with guns. Gripping and jaw-dropping, it’s a documentary that needs to be seen to be believed

TIME OUT ★★★★ an especially probing portrait of a wounded man and his role in the fetishisation of state-sanctioned violence

EVENING STANDARD ★★★ makes your jaw drop… an education

Andrea Luka Zimmerman is an artist, filmmaker and cultural activist whose multi-layered practice calls for a profound reimagining of the relationship between people, place and ecology. Andrea’s films ask how might we resist being framed exclusively through class, gender, ability – or disability – and  geography. Andrea’s works draw attention to those public and private memories that are culturally under-expressed, often concerning itinerant lives and/or those caught-up  in structural and political violence. Her practice employs radical encounters, imaginative hybridity –  between documentary, narrative reframing, reverie and creative waywardness – and processes where filmmaking becomes a form of social dreaming. Andrea is Professor of Possible Film at Central Saint Martins.

Andrea’s films include: Here for Life (2019), produced by Artangel, which premiered in the Cineasti Del Presente International Competition of the Locarno Film Festival (winning a Special Mention); Erase and Forget (2017), which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival (nominated for the Original Documentary Award); and Estate, a Reverie (2015), nominated for Best Newcomer Award at the Grierson Awards.