Urban Sights: Urban History and Visual CultureMain MenuIntroductionConflicting Visions of Renewal in Pittsburgh's Hill District, 1950-1968 by Laura GrantmyreSan Francisco Views: Robert Bechtle and the Reformulation of Urban Vision by Bridget GilmanVisualizing Iraq: Oil, Cinema, and the Modern City by Mona DamlujiFilmic Witness to the 1964 Kitty Genovese Murder by Carrie RentschlerBuses from Nowhere: Television and Anti-busing Activism in 1970s Urban America by Matt DelmontMona Damluji89c6177132ce9094bd19f4e5159eb300a76ef0dfMatthew F. Delmont5676b5682f4c73618365582367c04a35162484d5Bridget Gilman032da9b6b9003c284100547a1d63b1ed9aca49e2Laura Grantmyre8add17c1c26ed9de6b804f44312bd03052f5735eCarrie Rentschlere7ded604f66cae2062fa490f51234edecd44a076
The Third River – clip 5.
12013-09-07T03:18:09-07:00Mona Damluji89c6177132ce9094bd19f4e5159eb300a76ef0df2552A selected sequence from a documentary produced by the Iraq Petroleum Company about the construction of an oil pipeline between the Kirkuk fields in northern Iraq fields and the port city Banias in Syria.plain2016-05-25T19:02:09-07:00Critical Commons1951Video2013-09-06T23:52:07ZThe Third RiverLeonard Butingan7a14423b150626a983f2746324cfa4a37fcf879f
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12014-06-30T14:04:33-07:00Imagining oil as a natural and national resource22plain2016-05-04T15:52:22-07:00The Third River crafts a positive image of the oil industry for Iraqis that put the oil company in the background. Instead dignified and cooperative Iraqi oil workers came to the fore of this narrative. The film shows Iraqis as the driving force behind the construction of the pipeline, which is thus imagined as a nation-building project rather than a corporate endeavour. Beyond this, the film narrative explicitly ties the project of oil extraction to the promise of modernity and social progress in Iraq.
The title and narration of The Third River emphasizes the flow of oil through its new pipeline akin to the great rivers - Tigris and Euphrates - that bring life to the land in Iraq. Thus, the pipeline is represented, like modern methods of water management and irrigation, as a conduit that aids the country's transition from 'the old' to 'the new'. Furthermore, the film works to erase the visibility of the foreign company from the story of oil through an emphasis that oil extraction is akin to a natural process, merely helped along by modern industry. In this regard, the film attempts to naturalize the colonial practice of oil extraction.
The narrative excludes documentation of the top-down planning by the IPC that was necessary to map and execute the pipeline project. Much of the film, in fact, is a presentation of images through montage capturing Arab laborers participating in the 'bottom-up' image of pipeline construction. The film presents long sequences of men at work, welding, lifting and waiting patiently on the constantly moving job site as the tedium of construction goes on. In the film and related promotional materials, images of the oil company’s non-Iraqi representatives and experts remain virtually absent, except when white supervisors in European dress are shown speaking with men on the ground. Ultimately, The Third River defines the project of oil extraction as a logical extension of the country’s natural wealth, a foundation for the promise of national development, signified by modernization in the capital, and a stage for workforce productivity and co-operation.