Danfung Dennis: Hell and Back Again

The Afghanistan documentary by Danfung Dennis, awarded at many festivals opens today in Paris. The daily Libération has an interview with Dennis, link below. Here is a re-post of the review of the important documentary:

I love my pistol”, says Sergeant Nathan Harris, the protagonist of the film about an American soldier, who gets seriously wounded in combat in Afghanistan, is taken back to the US and to his wife Ashley, who helps him recover; at least she helps him getting through the day, the trauma he has from his time in Afghanistan, he does not seem to be able to fight on his own as the film tells the audience.

Many films have come out and is coming out from and about the war in Afghanistan and its consequences on heart and mind, especially on those going there as soldiers to secure changes in the country. This one is one of the best so far in its superb camera work from the battlefield, in its description, with a lot of dignity, of the Afghans who are victims of the constant search for Talibans by the Americans. They are told to leave their houses, their houses are searched, they are searched and controlled. The desperation comes from the Afghans, who don’t want to be ruled by the Talibans, but you soldiers do not really make the situation easier!

The emotional side of the film, however, lies where Nathan Harris is back home, suffering enormously from his pain, constantly taking strong medicin and – this is how the film is built – thinks back on Afghanistan where he definitely wants to be again as a killer, the word used by the doctor who examines him. As a spectator you look, with empathy, thanks to the approach of the director, at a man brought up in a society of violence, a young man sitting in a sofa at the end of the film playing with his guns… ”I love my pistol”.

US/UK, 2011, 88 mins.

Winner of 1st Documentary Competition at Moscow International Film festival 2011.



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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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