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In February of 2009, a group of Danish soldiers accompanied by documentarian Janus Metz arrived at Armadillo, an army base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. Metz and cinematographer Lars Skree spent six months following the lives of young soldiers situated less than a kilometre from Taliban positions. The result of their work is a gripping and highly authentic war drama that was justly awarded the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique at the 2010 Cannes film festival. But it also provoked furious debate in Denmark concerning the controversial behavior of certain Danish soldiers during a shoot-out with Taliban fighters. The film-makers repeatedly risked their lives shooting this tense, brilliantly edited, and visually sophisticated probe into the psychology of young men in the midst of a senseless war whose victims are primarily local villagers. Yet more disturbing than scenes in which Taliban bullets whiz past their cameras is the footage of the young soldiers as each ... Written by
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
This is a documentary. As such it tries to show the reality of camp armadillo in the Afghan Helmand province. Armadillo is the most forward of the allied camps, and as such the one with the most fighting, and the least civilian work. Taleban territory is 800 meter from the camp - and peace is not something that the locals dare hope for.
Some people seam to think this movie is an argument against the war. I beg to differ. This movie simply shows us what war sometimes is: Young men, without a clue about why, leaving their tearladen family to fight in a country far away. AT great personal cost. Sometimes the greatest. Maybe - something good will come out of it, even though it can seem hopeless.
The movie shows us the different coping strategies the soldiers uses. The sense of brotherhood, the porn, the adrenalin, the dark sarcastic humor. It shows us how the soldiers doesn't always have time to ask before shooting. And it shows us how different the soldiers are.
It's a sober movie. Filmed at the front line, with images never before seen from the actual war in Afgahnistan. Beautiful camera work, sublime editing makes this a very good documentary.
EDIT: What I miss - and why I don't give it a 10: I am actually a bit surprised by what the soldiers do not say. In these circumstances I would expect a much more racist tone/humor. But there is hardly any of that. The few soldiers I have met in real life, have all had very complicated/nuanced/many faceted feelings towards the local culture: Admiration and disgust at the same time. I get the feeling that this movie have actually edited the worst lingo out of the movie. I think it would serve everyone good to know, that if a returned soldiers refer to someone as a camel-f***er - this is not always because that same soldier cant feel a deep respect for said camel-******* culture, customs, language and persona.
Also: A soldier 'snitches', and talks to his relatives back home, about a certain incident. Since everybody is talking about brotherhood in this movie, I would suspect that having a "snitch" in the brotherhood, has led to some interesting frustrations, misgivings and suspicions. This is not shown, which is disappointing.
But still: fantastic camera-work, and very sober war movie. 8/10
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