Tag Archives: United States Army

Forgetting the War

I’ve just seen the trailer below for a new documentary called Almost Sunrise about two US veterans and their attempts to move on from their experiences in Iraq as they attempt to readjust to being civilians

 

The film’s website tells us that Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson served in Iraq, and since their return home have both struggled with depression, to the extent that they contemplated suicide. In order to try and master their fates, the two embark on a massive 2,700 mile walk across the country from Wisconsin to California, “in order to reflect on their haunting experiences of war and to ultimately, save themselves.”

Military personnel struggling on their return from conflict is not new, and their battles with reconciling what they did when in action with the moral code of a society removed from war have been studied before. But it can never be highlighted enough. This, like anything else, takes time to heal. And sometimes time alone is not enough.

The subject of transition into civilian life from the military is something I’ve worked on and highlighted before here, but it does seem to attract far more attention in the US than in the UK. Why is this? Certainly one major part of it is the cultural difference between the US and the UK, and the place the veteran has in our societies – and the questions about what we as civilians owe them, if anything, in return for their service.

Also,  I can’t help but notice that this seems to add to the latest trend in film-making when it comes to war films; that the focus is now more on the legacy of the war at home after the conflict for those who endured it, rather than the war itself.

It looks like an amazingly powerful film, and I’ll certainly try and track this film down from the UK.

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Filed under Military Memory, War films

From the People Who Brought You ‘Restrepo’…

This month sees the release of the follow up to the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo, a film about the war in Afghanistan. Made by the same team that produced Restrepo (though the British photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed whilst covering to conflict in Libya in 2011), Korengal features footage cut from the original, whilst also conducting follow up interviews with some of those soldiers featured as they look back on the conflict. The impact of the war on these men is clear, both the negative and the positive, in particular the loss of comradeship and the impossibility of living such an adrenaline-fuelled life ever again; at one point, one soldier says: “I’d go back there if I could.”

The veteran journalist Sebastian Junger, whose book War was a triumph in story-telling, has once again translated combat experience to film, helping the civilian world understand what it is those men in uniform do, how they endure, and how it continues to shape them even if they’re thousands of miles away from a particular place. Physical distance doesn’t always equate to mental perspective

Restrepo was genuinely one of the greatest films on men in war that I’ve seen. If you haven’t seen it already, watch it, and then go watch Korengal. I can’t wait to see it.

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Filed under War films