To many, Don McCullin is the greatest living war photographer, often cited as an inspiration for today's photojournalists. For the first time, McCullin speaks candidly about his three-decade career covering wars and humanitarian disasters on virtually every continent and the photographs that often defined historic moments. From 1969 to 1984, he was the Sunday Times of London's star photographer, where he covered stories from the civil war in Cyprus to the war in Vietnam, from the man-made famine in Biafra to the plight of the homeless in the London of the swinging sixties. Exploring not only McCullin's life and work, but how the ethos of journalism has changed throughout his career, the film is a commentary on the history of photojournalism told through the lens of one of its most acclaimed photographers.Written by
Powerful and honest, a fascinating and unforgettable watch
I must confess I only stumbled across this riveting and powerful but relatively unknown documentary because my local independent cinema was showing it. McCullin did actually receive a BAFTA nomination for best feature length documentary and this was fully justified. I cannot recommend this film enough; it is truly fascinating and extremely well put together that the 90 minutes of its running time just fly by. Not only is this superbly edited, but the music also enhances the mood and atmosphere.
Don McCullin himself is uncomfortable with the title of 'war photographer' and throughout his interview he gives fascinating accounts of his life and what effect witnessing the horrifying experiences that he did affected him. This documentary also serves as an insightful documentary into some of the conflicts of the second half of the twentieth century.
McCullin's firsthand accounts of what he witnessed gives harrowing but fascinating insights into scenes some of us can only imagine. As with all wars, the main victims are those innocent civilians stuck in the middle and McCullin's descriptions of such people really put life into perspective and the luxuries that we all take for granted. This is at times uncomfortable and sobering viewing, but only due to the raw honesty of McCullin's stories and photos. McCullin himself also emerges as not only a fascinating man, but a man of integrity and honesty. We could only imaging what witnessing some of the horrific events that he did would do to us psychologically and it is genuinely fascinating as he reveals what it did to him. This film also serves as a reminder to an irretrievable bygone era of journalism and does make us pose some questions about the integrity and honesty of 21st century journalism, especially photojournalism. As Don McCullin himself says: "Photography is the truth if it's being handled by a truthful person."
This is an extremely honest and genuinely powerful documentary that not only provides insight into a fascinating man, but also the horrifying truth about the effects war can have on nations and innocent civilians. This is unforgettable and devastating, and though not an easy watch at times, one I would thoroughly recommend.
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