Tag Archives: Restrepo

Film & TV News: May 18


  • The Cannes Film Festival is well under way, and buzz is strong on a lot of the films screened thus far. Yorgos Lanthimos presented The Lobster (Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz), Woody Allen presented Irrational Man (Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone) and Stéphane Brizé presented La loi du marché (with Vincent Lindon of La mustache), all of which played favorably. On the other end of the spectrum is Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees (Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe), which was met with a sea of boos.
  • Jude Law has joined the tentatively-titled The Young Pope, a speculative HBO series about an American pope. That premise would be only vaguely interesting were it not for the presence of director Paolo Sorrentino, helmer of 2013’s The Great Beauty, as Pope‘s showrunner.
  • David Lynch does another 180° and says the Twin Peaks revival is happening after all. At this point we’ll believe it when we see it, and even then we might not care.

Continue reading Film & TV News: May 18

Restrepo (2010)

I had the good fortune of meeting Sebastian Junger a few years ago in Boston as he did the press junket for his book War. From mid-2007 to mid-2008 Junger was embedded with a U.S. unit in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan with his friend and photographer Tim Hetherington, and War was one of the many pieces of journalism that resulted from that year. Another was a series of Vanity Fair dispatches collected as “Into the Valley of Death“, which is an excellent companion to War and an excellent account of that year in the Korengal. But the most affecting portrait from Junger’s tour as a war journalist might be Restrepo, the documentary he and Hetherington directed from the thousands of hours of footage they took during the year and ensuing interviews with the soldiers immediately upon their return home.

The Korengal Valley (sometimes spelled Korangal) was at the time dubbed the deadliest place in the world, an overblown-sounding moniker that is nonetheless entirely lacking exaggeration. U.S. troops in the Korengal took fire from Taliban insurgencies every single day, often engaging in five or six firefights between dawn and dusk. For soldiers on a fifteen-month deployment, that’s an unheard-of amount of action. By the time the U.S. pulled out of the Korengal in April 2010, nearly fifty American soldiers had been K.I.A. there. Seventy percent of ordinance dropped throughout Afghanistan during the course of the war was dropped here. In an interview with CNN, Junger describes the Korengal as “the Afghanistan of Afghanistan, too remote to conquer, too poor to intimidate, too autonomous to buy off.”

Continue reading Restrepo (2010)