6.8/10
33
3 user 7 critic

Voices in Wartime (2005)

VOICES IN WARTIME is a feature-length documentary that sharply etches the experience of war through powerful images and the words of poets - unknown and world-famous. Soldiers, journalists,... See full summary »

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Chris Abani
Sinan Antoon
Rachel Bentham
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VOICES IN WARTIME is a feature-length documentary that sharply etches the experience of war through powerful images and the words of poets - unknown and world-famous. Soldiers, journalists, historians and experts on combat interviewed in VOICES IN WARTIME add diverse perspectives on war's effects on soldiers, civilians and society. In VOICES IN WARTIME, poets around the world, from the United States and Colombia, to Britain and Nigeria, to Iraq and India, share their views and experiences of war that extend beyond national borders and into the depth of the human soul. The film also brings to life how poetry and war have been intertwined since the beginning of recorded history - from ancient Babylonia and the fields of Troy - to the great conflicts of the 20th century and the current war in Iraq. The stirring words of poets of the past - Homer, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman and Shoda Shinoe from Hiroshima are combined with more recent ... Written by Cinema Libre Studio

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4 March 2005 (USA)  »

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$10,500 (USA) (15 April 2005)

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$20,702 (USA) (17 June 2005)
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User Reviews

 
An extraordinary meta-poem worth experiencing
18 April 2005 | by (Seattle, Washington, USA) – See all my reviews

I was originally skeptical when I first heard about this documentary about how poetry has been the most expressive medium to voice the experience of war by combatants and civilians. But, after seeing it, I have to say that it delivered.

The movie itself is a meta-poem, with a lyrical structure oscillating between poems, interviews with poets, and news/newsreel footage. After achieving a pleasant rhythm, it drifts to variations with meta-verses on the largest conflicts the US Armed Forces have participated in: Civil War, World War 1, World War 2 and Vietnam. What it builds is an incredible link that we now call post-traumatic stress disorder, was previously called combat fatigue, which was previously called shell-shock. That these occur is inseparable from war itself.

The superintendent of West Point is one of the experts this movie interviewed, and his insights into the ways poetry can help soldiers and veterans with no other way to express their experience were particularly valuable. For my own taste, I would have wished the movie took a stronger stand either in support of the glory of war, or support of the uselessness of war, but it left that open. It's not perfect, but easily the best documentary on poetry I've ever seen.

It is my opinion that the best poetry sets up a rhythm, delves into its subject, and ends with a line that stops you cold. This meta-poem movie does that: ending with a poem that stops you cold.


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