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Interview: Tim Hetherington on His Film Restrepo

From June 2007 to July 2008, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger lived on Restrepo, a US military outpost in the Kornegal Valley in Afghanistan. By trade, Hetherington is a photograph and Junger a writer, but for Restrepo, they became filmmakers, carrying cameras at all times to record the lives of young men at war. Spending such an elongated period at Restrepo with the men, they became very close with the soldiers and their film reflects that; it is only a soldier's point of view on what it is like to be at war, nothing more or less. That means all aspects—from firefights to corny jokes, dancing and wrestling, delicate conversations with Afghan elders. There are difficult moments when civilians die and when soldiers die. But there are funny moments, moments of tedium, elation, somberness. There are no moments of politics, no moments of higher-ups, no moments at home. This film represents solely what it is like to be at war, something so difficult to decode through most media and ultimately impossible to know without experiencing first hand. Restrepo gives life to the troops who, regardless of where you fall on a political spectrum, are doing incredibly difficult, life threatening work. It's important to hear them speak. To find out more about why he and Sebastian Junger made the film, and their hopes for it, we spoke with Tim Hetherington, who is much more charming than you'd expect for a guy who voluntarily embeds himself in extremely dangerous wars. Restrepo opens today in New York and Los Angeles, please go see it.

Interview: Tim Hetherington on His Film Restrepo