CNN once called it the »deadliest place on earth«: 70 per cent of the bombs deployed in Afghanistan are being dropped on the Korengal Valley. Sebastian Junger, a journalist and writer, and Tim Hetherington, an award-winning photographer, have accompanied a US battle company there for a year. Their documentary feature gets us as deep into a soldier’s life as we could possibly want – and maybe deeper. Although RESTREPO (named after a solitary outpost deep in enemy territory) remains non-political it does show why this war cannot be truly won: Family feuds, wrong denunciations and the escalation of mutual mistrust turn every attempt at diplomacy with the valley inhabitants into a kafkaesque experience. And every offensive doesn’t only kill enemy fighters, but also women and children. This raw, relentless documentary shows the daily skirmishes as well as the large-scale offensives – and the mounting frustration and trauma of the soldiers who are being decimated in these steep and wooded hillsides by an invisible enemy.
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Selected filmography John Battsek
THE GAME OF THEIR LIVES (2002), A STATE OF MIND (2004), CROSSING THE LINE (2006), MY KID COULD PAINT THAT (2007), IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON (2007), THE AGE OF STUPID (2009)