Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Restrepo: One Platoon, One Valley, One Year

RESTREPO is a 2010 feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, "Restrepo," named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military.

The film explores the year that American journalist Sebastian Junger and British photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent in Afghanistan on assignment for Vanity Fair, embedded with the Second Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (airborne) of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in the Korengal valley. The 2nd Platoon is depicted defending an outpost (OP) named OP Restrepo, for PFC Juan Sebastián Restrepo, a Colombian-born naturalized U.S. citizen platoon medic who was killed earlier in the campaign.

The Korengal Valley was at the time regarded as "the deadliest place on Earth" (as stated in the documentary itself, trailers, and television commercials on the National Geographic Channel). The goal of the deployment is to clear the Korengal Valley of insurgency and continue to gain the trust of the local populace.

The film portrays the construction of an advanced outpost, OP Restrepo, as well as the challenges and intermittent firefights they faced while they managed to build the outpost from nothing in only one night.

These are just come of the images taken from the website.

And these are the names of some of the guys who were there: Brandon Olson, Matt Piosa, David Old, Kevin Rice, Tanner Stichter, Brian Underwood, Carl Vandenberge, Aron Hijar, Chris Hoyt, Matt Moreno, Eric Anderson, Marc Solowski, Ross Murphy, Brendon O'Bryne, Lucas Walker, Joshua McDonough, Steve Kim, Jason Mace, Dan Richardson, Sterling Dunn, Vinnie Cantu, Kyle Steiner, Sean Young, Tad Donoho, Juan Restrepo, Angel Toves, Ryan Lizama, John Lambert, David Kelso, Bobby Wilson, Craig Danforth, Craig Vaughan, Dustin Henry, Elliot Alcantara, Levi Diebler, Jason Monroe, Luke Nevala, Mark Patterson, Michael Cunningham, Matthew Simon, Michael Jackson, Miguel Cortez, Nik Shelke, Misa Pemble-Belkin, Santana Rueda, Sterling Jones, Stephen Gillespie, Teodoro Buno

It was a battle with the unseen enemy. We never see the enemy, only hear the gunshots but it's intense!

Directors' Statement: "The war in Afghanistan has become highly politicized, but soldiers rarely take part in that discussion. Our intention was to capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers themselves. Their lives were our lives: we did not sit down with their families, we did not interview Afghans, we did not explore geopolitical debates. Soldiers are living and fighting and dying at remote outposts in Afghanistan in conditions that few Americans back home can imagine. Their experiences are important to understand, regardless of one's political beliefs. Beliefs are a way to avoid looking at reality. This is reality." Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

You can check out the site HERE for videos, trailers and other information


kibitzer said...

Also, I recommend reading the book, War by Sebastian Junger. It's based on the documentary itself and details the day-to-day living in the firebase. Also included are the actions in Operation Rock Avalanche, O'Byrne's(who seems to be the book's main character) backstory and Sal Giunta's actions leading up to his MOH. The books contains several details that were not included in the documentary such as their "blood in-blood out" ritual and also some deeper insights including psychological studies discussing the combat environment. Highly recommended.

alex teo said...

thanks kibitzer, i'll be sure to look out for it :) CHEERS