(Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, during the shooting of Restrepo. )

By Terry Keefe

 

 

I’ll just come out and say this – Restrepo is one of the best films about war ever made. My statement includes fiction and non, although Restrepo’s power is inseparable from the fact that it is a documentary. Filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington embedded themselves for a year with the Second Platoon of Battle Company of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan to shoot the bulk of Restrepo and have created a non-fiction film which approximates the experience of a lengthy military deployment in the country as much as would be possible without actually going there oneself.  The film is nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category of the upcoming Academy Awards, where it will compete for the gold man with fellow nominees Waste Land, Inside Job, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and Gasland.

Who knew that Bigelow’s win for best director last night was the first such win for a woman? This seems insane to me. And I suppose we shouldn’t make anything of the fact that she won for a film that, despite some murmurings early on about how she lent a “feminine touch” to the raw dealings of war was, let’s face it, a “boy movie.”