Restrepo (Sebastian Junger, Tim Hetherington, USA, 2010, 93 minutes)
Netflix: Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, teamed with photographer Tim Hetherington and spent a year embedded with the Second Platoon in Afghanistan, chronicling the hard work, fear and brotherhood that come with repelling a deadly enemy. Hunkered down with the soldiers in one of the region's most strategic valleys, the filmmakers uncover the dark humor, sleepless surreality and constant anxiety of war in this Oscar-nominated documentary.
Coincidentally, I had been thinking about this film earlier today as I listened to Aaron Hillis's fine GreenCine Daily Podcast interview with Janus Metz, the Danish director of the documentary, Armadillo, which follows Danish troops during their tour of Afghanistan. Among other things, Metz discusses the experience of covering the front lines in a violent conflict in very direct but vivid terms.
Regardless of whether you have a chance to stream Restrepo or listen to the Metz interview today, take a moment to think about those who put their lives on the line to bring us images of what is actually happening out there in the world, at a time when too many image makers only try to obscure our understanding.