Also related to Sebastian Junger’s book War:
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 90-minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you.
The war in Afghanistan has become highly politicized, but soldiers rarely take part in that discussion. Our intention was to capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers themselves. Their lives were our lives: we did not sit down with their families, we did not interview Afghans, we did not explore geopolitical debates. Soldiers are living and fighting and dying at remote outposts in Afghanistan in conditions that few Americans back home can imagine. Their experiences are important to understand, regardless of one’s political beliefs. Beliefs are a way to avoid looking at reality. This is reality.
- Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
The film was awarded the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary.
The Trailer for Restrepo and a couple of select videos
Infidel by Tim Hetherington is an intimate portrait of a single U.S. platoon, assigned to an outpost in the Korengal Valley-an area considered one of the most dangerous Afghan postings in the war against the Taliban-but it is as much about love and male vulnerability as it is about bravery and war. Embedded with writer Sebastian Junger, and shooting over the course of one year, photographer Tim Hetherington made a series of images that prove surprisingly tender in their depiction of camaraderie and vulnerability (among the most moving is a series of the platoon sleeping). Alongside revealing interviews with Hetherington’s subjects and an introduction by Junger (with whom Hetherington co-directed the award-winning film Restrepo, about the work of the battalion), the book is also illustrated with graphics of the tattoos the soldiers gave each other in the camp. The title Infidel is taken from the tattoo the men adopted as a badge of their comradeship.