6.8/10
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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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Documentary

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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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Poetry as the Healing Force in Time of War - and After
3 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

VOICES IN WARTIME is a documentary that has many aspects: it is an important investigation into how poets have responded to war from the Civil War through the two World Wars, Korean and Vietnam Wars and it is an homage to the fallen and to those who have been permanently damaged by war's dissection of the psyche, whether that be called combat fatigue, shell shock, battle rattle or the now accepted term Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. One has only to read the works of Walt Whitman, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Langston Hughes to find the core of this deeply moving project and film.

Filmmaker Rick King has created a platform for which poets and commentators, scholars and photographers and explores the close relationship between anti-war protest and the poetry that has grown out of such feelings. This film is not a compendium of works praising Old Glory or making the world safe for democracy: this is a conversation among poets and their works with newsreel footage and stills of the wars of our past and present, thoughts that descry the atrocities of war and the rage it invokes. It is difficult to watch, but it is important to absorb. This is the portal through which author Sam Hamill is seen organizing the activist group, Poets Against the War. And the impact is strong.

Not all of the poetry read is great and much of it comes from the pens of the untrained. But all of the works and voices and images in King's film cannot help but touch the heart and the conscience. It needs to be seen. Grady Harp


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