On April 4, it was announced that Oscilloscope Laboratories will release the documentary film “Rebirth” theatrically in August and that Showtime will air the film on September 11. “Rebirth” is a new kind of film: one that takes place in the here and now. Through following those associated with the 9/11 disaster over a ten-year period and through timelapse photography of the cleanup and rebuilding of Ground Zero, it offers a human perspective on tragedy and how we cope. What makes “Rebirth” unique is that elements of the film will play a key role in the story told by the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, as well as the coursework provided by two major institutions of higher learning. I’m finishing up a short piece on this film and its applications for an industry publication and will link to it when it’s posted online.
Another film in the here and now that connects on an emotional level is “Restrepo,” co-directed by journalists Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. For fifteen months, the two of them were embedded with members of the 173rd Airborne in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The film is a candid portrait of what it is like to be in a life or death situation and what it is like to lose a comrade. One way or another, we can all relate to the emotions of stress, fear, and loss on a personal level. “Restrepo,” in this regard, shares many of the same themes as “Rebirth.”
While at the National Infantry Museum, I was in talks with Junger to bring “Restrepo” to the Museum in conjunction with the dedication of the 173rd memorial. Unfortunately, due to a number of unforseen circumstances, this screening never took place. However, on a later date, the film was screened on Fort Benning and Hetherington was present to answer questions afterward. Just two days ago, on April 20, Hetherington was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade while covering the conflict in Libya. In his final film, “Diary 2010,” he relates his experiences in war zones in a way that pulls you in. Partially shocking, partially seductive, it is an intricate mosaic that, like “Restrepo” and “Rebirth” affects us on an emotional and personal level.