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Korengal

By ETHAN ROCKE
If war is hell, why do soldiers who survive intense combat often miss it when they come home? That question is at the heart of Sebastian Junger’s latest film, Korengal, a follow-up to Restrepo, the Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary he co-directed with the late Tim Hetherington. Cut from the same material that went into Restrepo, Korengal is Junger’s bold attempt to illuminate the emotional paradox soldiers often face when returning from war and their desperate need to communicate their experiences in a meaningful way. “I’d rather be there than here,” says Misha Pemble-Belkin, an Oregon native and soldier whose voice opens the film. “I’d go back right now if I could.” Pemble-Belkin’s statement, which is echoed by other soldiers in the film, seems inexplicable in light of the traumatic events we see these soldiers endure during their 15-month tour in one of Afghanistan’s most remote and treacherous regions. But it’s exactly why the film is important. Korengal cuts through our stock media narratives, and through our dueling strains of patriotic fervor and anti-war sentiment. With Korengal, Junger asks Americans to do something immensely difficult. He asks us to listen to these soldiers with an open mind and an open heart, and try to understand what's at stake if we as a nation fail to do so.
 

Special Note

Fox Tower
 
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, May 30, 2014
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Brief Nude Images, Language Throughout ]
  • Critic's Score: A
  • Directed by: Sebastian Junger [Director], Nick Quested [Producer], Tim Hetherington [Cinematographer], Sebastian Junger [Cinematographer], Michael Levine [Film Editor], Marty Beller [Original Music]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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