A unique documentary about troops' experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on writings by soldiers, Marines, and air men. Some writings were published in the New Yorker in summer 2006. A... See full summary »
A unique documentary about troops' experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, based on writings by soldiers, Marines, and air men. Some writings were published in the New Yorker in summer 2006. A larger assortment was published as a book by Random House last September. The film drew upon the submissions by soldiers for the book. It's a remarkable portrait of troops at war - the complexities, doubts, and fears - written with honesty. The 81-minute version of the film (which will be in theatres) includes 11 pieces of writing, with different visual strategies, along with interviews with the writers, and with more established American writers who are also veterans. In the latter group are Tim O'Brien, Yusef Komunyakaa, Tobias Wolff, Joe Haldeman, James Salter, Anthony Swofford, Richard Currey, and Paul Fussell. The visual approaches range from poet Brian Turner reading directly to camera, to archival footage, to an animated "graphic novel," to a still photo sequence shot by photographer Antonin... Written by
Adam Hyman, co-producer
I just saw this at a local screening and found out that it's going to show on PBS in April. If you didn't catch it in theaters, mark your calendars it is an extremely compelling story of the Iraq war told through the eyes of the men and woman who've fought there. I first read about it in the New Yorker a couple of years ago the National Endowment for the Arts sponsored this program where those fighting the war and their friends/families were encouraged to write letters chronicling their experience. Even on paper they were moving accounts and I believe actual writers and literary figures were involved to help mentor them, etc. This is like our generation's eye witness account of day to day life in Iraq and Afghanistan and having friends who are marines over there, this really hit me hard. The way the film shows the stories, I think, is very powerful and brings out the impact of the words there are excerpts from each person's letter read over by celebrities (Robert Duvall and Josh Lucas were two I recognized), who really dramatize the situation told in the letters, and each section has different visual theme. Some are animated, some are reenactment of the story, or simply scenery from the war zone. It's more personal and heartfelt than any other war reporting I've seen through the media, even the embedded journalist and such, and I think everyone should check it out if they get a chance. Like I said, this will be shown on PBS later this spring as part of a series called America at a Crossroads (http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/) and there seem to be a companion piece to this film called Warriors that will also broadcast on April 16. Based on what I've seen here, I am planning on checking out to whole series, as it seems like the films will give a variety of perspectives into what we're facing in the war today.
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