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‘Restrepo’s’ Tim Hetherington expounds on war, life (video)

Sebastian Junger, left, and Tim Hetherington, right, spent months in Afghanistan filming. Photo used with permission of Tim Hetherington.

War. A tragic facet of mankind, an abhorred shred of our species’ existence, a topic that war photographer and documentarian Tim Hetherington is all too familiar with. 

Hetherington is a man that has seen and recorded things that most people can only imagine viewing on the evening news.  From genocides and civil wars in places like Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Liberia, to the ongoing conflict between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan, this is a journalist who can confidently say that he knows, firsthand, what war truly is.

I had the chance to personally interview Hetherington October 1 at the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles after a screening of his award-winning Afghan war documentary, “Restrepo.”

Having never met him in person and having only heard bits and pieces of information about him, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  But the person I met was just as approachable and kind, if not more so, than any person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. 

During the course of my 20-minute interview with him, I acquired mountainous amounts of information about his insights and personal feelings on various conflicts, life, and the subject of war in general. 

The conversation we shared didn’t really seem to have one direct flow or driving theme behind it, but rather it meandered from one interrelated topic to another.  When he would bring up a point I found intriguing, I would simply ask him to expound upon it and generally with each detail he relayed to me, our dialogue would become that much more fascinating.  We spoke about everything from parallels between the rebel conflict in Sierra Leone to his personal feelings on what the effects of the Afghan war are on the civilians caught in the crossfire.

 Ever tactful and oddly graceful in his speech, Hetherington provided information beyond anything that I had originally expected to hear.  Nothing felt cursory, nothing felt rushed or off-the-cuff, rather each response played out like a carefully planned and composed piece of music.  In essence, everything I learned that night is something that I will always remember fondly.

Of course, me describing all these details of my interview to you isn’t anything compared to the actual piece itself, so go ahead and click on the video “highlight” version of the interview, directly below. Or if you want to see the entire in-depth interview, check out the full unedited version.

To read my review of this film, click on “The Reality of the Unreal Deploys in “Restrepo.”


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