Films: Hell and Back Again

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Hell and Back Again

Hell and Back Again

USA, 2011, 88 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: United Kingdom
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Political, War
Program: Documentary Films
Language: English, Pashtu English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Danfung Dennis
Producer: Mike Lerner, Martin Herring
Editor: Fiona Otway
Cinematographer: Danfung Dennis
Principal Cast: Sergeant Nathan Harris, Ashley Harris

Embedded with the U.S. Marine Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist Danfung Dennis has seen the starkly brutal realities of war for himself. With 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris, he has also seen the aftermath. Moving back and forth between the battlefront and the homefront, Hell and Back Again details one Marine’s experience with an intimacy unlike that of any other recent war documentary.

On his final assignment before returning home, Harris is shot in the pelvis and leg. His battle injury is making readjustment to civilian life nearly impossible, as he withstands painful physical therapy sessions thanks to a regular cocktail of painkillers and antidepressants. Harris has built relationships with Afghan farmers, yet struggles to communicate with his young bride. Mistrust permeates his outlook, his allegiance to his duties in the field countered by the complex personal opinion of war he’s forming, free of politics. We’re left fearing for his future: how bright can it be when the stress of a simple outing to Wal-Mart makes him long for a return to Afghanistan, where everything makes sense to him?
—MATTHEW CAMPBELL

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