The film, opening in New York on Friday and across the United
States in June and July, is a follow-up to his 2011
Oscar-nominated film "Restrepo," which chronicled the lives of
U.S. soldiers defending a hilltop outpost in the Korengal
Valley, one of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan.
Junger also wrote about his experiences in his 2010 book titled
In "Korengal," Junger questions members of Battle Company, part
of the Second Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment and the
173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, about fear, bravery,
camaraderie and adrenalin rushes during combat.
The soldiers also admit that despite counting the day until they
can leave, they will miss the war and want to go back.
"One of the things I wanted to communicate with this film is
that combat is a lot of things. It is not just one thing. It is
very exciting for everybody. It is very scary for everybody. It
is incredibly meaningful. It is very, very sad if you stop and
think about what you are doing," Junger said in an interview.
"That mix is morally confusing to soldiers but also quite
intoxicating," he added. "It really does get down to wanting to
go back over and over again for more."
Junger, 52, co-directed "Restrepo" with British-American
photojournalist Tim Hetherington, using material gathered while
the two were embedded with the combat team in Afghanistan from
May 2007 to June 2008.
The film, which had no musical score or narration, provided
gripping images of firefights the soldiers encountered almost
daily in the remote Korengal valley, an important passage used
by the Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.
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In 2011, Hetherington was killed while covering the Libyan
civil war. After his death, Junger completed the second-part of
the project, picking up where "Restrepo" left off, examining the
impact of combat on soldiers.
"It is a film about the emotional experiences of war and its
consequences," said Junger, author of the best-selling book "The
Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea," which was
made into a 2000 feature film starring George Clooney.
Junger said the love-hate relationship with war dates back to
ancient times. Soldiers miss the doses of adrenaline, the
urgency and the brotherhood that exists in a small combat unit.
"I think a journalist's job is to represent reality truthfully.
If that is one of the reactions that men have in combat, I think
it should be portrayed and understood," he said.
"My hope was that if the soldiers understood their experience a
little better, civilians might also and that both of those
things would help in the process of reincorporating almost 3
million combat vets back into society back home."
(Editing by Eric Kelsey and David Gregorio)
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