By: Henry J. Fromage (A Toast) –
In 2010, I watched the documentary Restrepo. This searing, vivid depiction of the costs and realities of war on the front line ended up being one of my favorite films of the year, and undoubtedly the hardest to shake. The sheer ballsiness and journalistic and filmmaking élan needed to produce something like this made heroes of co-directors Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington to me. In 2011, Tim Hetherington was dead. Man, I need to watch a cat video or something right now.
Well… that was even more depressing. I’m terrible at this.
Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington, besides having a title that I refuse to type every again, is a deeply moving, inspiring look at one of the most fascinating men of our times. It’s an obvious labor of love for director Junger, but don’t mistake this for a feature-length obituary.
Junger examines what it actually means to be a war photographer, both in the day to day and the larger, metaphysical context. He drives deep to the care of what it means to experience war at first hand, although as we find through a message from one veteran towards the end of the film, war is something you’ll never truly understand until you lose a brother at arms yourself.
Not that this film (nope, I refuse to retype that title) is purely a depressing examination of war and one man who lost his life bringing us the realities of it. It is also a joyful look at a truly joyful man, and few films I have seen better express the intoxicating effects of travel and the dynamics of interacting with a different culture.
Although Tim pulls it off with a bit more dignity than I usually manage
I could go on and on about how well put together this documentary is, how perfectly scored, or painfully immediate and real its footage feels, but I can do no better than recommend you watch it yourself. Tim Hetherington was an incredible man, and this film is a fine tribute to his memory and legacy.
Take a Drink: when you need it to strengthen your nerves
Take a Drink: for philosophizing
Take a Drink: for each photo montage
Do a Shot: to the memory of a fascinating, incredibly talented, and thoughtful human being