June 26, 2010

PODCAST: Restrepo (Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington)

RESTREPO filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

Although neither New York-based journalist Sebastian Junger nor Liverpool-born photographer Tim Hetherington are strangers to combat zones, feature filmmaking was indeed a new war to be fought. In their brave and riveting documentary debut Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance, the two seasoned professionals used their fact-finding instincts to depict an experience I had never before felt with such heart-in-my-throat immediacy:

RESTREPO is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, "Restrepo," named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 94-minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you.

Sitting down with Junger and Hetherington this past week, the three of us discussed the risk and reward in making Restrepo, politics versus morality, why they should be seen as journalists instead of activist filmmakers, and how—in justifiable comparison to their doc—The Hurt Locker isn't quite a fair portrayal of the soldier's experience.

To listen to the podcast, click here. (16:52)

Podcast Music
INTRO: The Raconteurs: "Broken Boy Soldier"
OUTRO: Casualty: "Military Intervention"

[Restrepo is now playing in New York and Los Angeles, with more cities to follow beginning July 2. For more information, please visit the official site.]

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Posted by ahillis at June 26, 2010 9:09 AM