Filmmaker/journalist Sebastian Junger and late photojournalist Tim Hetherington were praised for their 2010 feature Restropo, a documentary which centered on American soldiers’ experiences in the Afghanistan’s Korengal valley from 2007-08. Junger’s fidelity to his subject continues after Hetherington’s passing, and although Korengal can be seen as a companion piece to Restrepo, this new doc isn’t just a bunch of extra footage that’s slapped together as an afterthought.
Inspired by Junger’s book War, Korengal gives us a deeper look into the mindset of the men who braved and persevered through that unforgiving terrain. Revisiting as well as giving a different viewpoint on his extensive material was eased by Junger’s continued collaboration with Restrepo editor Michael Levine.
In the following Korengal clip (which contains language some viewers may find offensive), soldier Brendan O’Byrne shares his conflicting views on war:
“I feel like we all need to contribute to this nation, in one way or another,” said Junger, who launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the costs for Korengal. “The soldiers had one way and my contribution was as a journalist. If that contribution helped soldiers and civilians, then I feel like I did my job. Do your duty is a cliche, but we all have a duty in this country of some sort. I have this open ended question to people – ‘What do you think you owe your country?’ It’s a very hard question to answer actually.”