Of Men and War
Introduced by Robert Greene, Filmmaker-In-Chief at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism
Dir. Laurent Bécue-Renard. 2015, 142 mins. Digital projection. This widely celebrated but criminally underseen film sets a new standard for empathetic observational nonfiction. At the Pathway Home in California’s Napa Valley, American soldiers suffering from PTSD gather together to somehow process what they have seen and endured, and figure out how to transition back to their everyday lives and families. The film alternates between group therapy sessions, where the men struggle to give voice to the violence that has transformed them, and scenes of their uneasy adjustment to married, home, and work lives—all of it marked by astonishing honesty and candor. In French director Laurent Bécue-Renard’s empathetic and longitudinal approach—he spent several years forging relationships at Pathway—questions about the efficacy of war take a backseat to the hearts and minds of individuals, inviting us to root for some kind of respite from their guilt and pain, not to mention a break from the cycle of violence that has been plaguing humanity for centuries. “A staggering achievement” —Robert Greene, Sight & Sound.
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