Friday, January 21, 2011

Restrepo - Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

Best documentary last year, hands down. Don't know how long this will be up for free, so watch it now.
Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan’s most strategically crucial valleys reveals extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban.

Here are some links about the book (War) and the film.
The film was review last summer when it came out by New York Press:

Sebastian Junger's Restrepo

In Section: NY comPRESSed » Posted By: Danny-Gold


The American public reached Iraq/Afghanistan war movie fatigue, whether documentary or narrative, almost as soon as both wars started. There’s only so much brooding shirtless Channing Tatum and heavy-handed Hollywood bullshit preaching that one person can take. Which is a shame, because Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s breathtaking Restrepo, the finest piece of conflict journalism since Michael Herr’s Dispatches, hits theaters this Friday after taking Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize. Lincoln center hosted an early screening Monday as part of the Human Rights Film Festival.

If anyone is qualified to make the defining war picture of this era, it’s Junger and Hetherington. Junger first gained prominence when he wrote The Perfect Storm, later adapted into the movie of the same name. Since then he’s established himself as one of the premier war journalists of this generation, writing brilliant long-form pieces in Vanity Fair accompanied by award-winning photos from Hetherington, who earned his stripes covering wars in West Africa. Hell, Junger’s newly released book is simply titled War. Between the two of them, they probably have more combat experience then any of the soldiers they embedded with.

The film follows the troops of 2nd Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment Airborne as they make their way in the Korangal Valley, arguably the deadliest place for US troops in Afghanistan. These men saw 500 firefights over a period of 15 months, sometimes 7 a day. Restrepo takes it name from the dangerous, isolated outpost the soldiers built in a hard fought moment of triumph. It is named after a beloved deceased soldier, Doc Restrepo, who we don’t get to know that well but who obviously carried a large amount of respect and love from his fellow soldiers.

We follow the soldiers on harrowing patrols, through firefights, in the surreal moments in which they prepare to go on patrols in which they know they will be shot at, through hard to watch meetings with village elders, and in the bored moments on base in-between violence. Interspersed are post-deployment interviews, the camera zoomed in on extreme close-ups on the soldiers faces as they talk about their experience with a look in their eyes that no actor could ever duplicate. When the movie is over, you will want to buy them a beer. You will want to hug them. And you will want to cry.

Read the whole review.

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