Film Series

Throughout March and April, at a wide range of venues across the Pioneer Valley, a rich and thought-provoking selection of documentary films focused on the realities of combat, combat trauma and home-coming will be screened. Many of these screenings will be introduced by the filmmakers and/or followed by commentary and discussion from local veterans and their families.

Achilles in Vietnam
A 90-minute documentary by Charles Berkowitz, based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Shay. The stories of Homer and those of Vietnam veterans are woven together to portray the trauma of combat and survival.

A Company of Soldiers
This PBS Frontline report from inside the U.S. Army's 8th Cavalry Regiment stationed in Baghdad, provides an up-close, intimate look at the dangers facing an American military unit in Iraq. Shot in the weeks following the U.S. presidential election, the film tracks the day-to-day challenges facing the 8th Cavalry's Dog Company as it suddenly has to cope with a dramatic increase in attacks by the insurgents.

After the Fog
Ten U.S. combat veterans, nearly all from Vermont, tell of their military experience in WWII, Vietnam and Iraq. They provide vivid, poignant, personally charged accounts of their own enlistment, training, combat, and return to civilian life. Their stories, skillfully woven together by the filmmaker, create a compelling and moving portrait of the American veteran across several generations.

All That I Can Be
At once an intimate portrait and an exploration of the promises and realities of the U.S. military in post-9/11 America. This YO-TV (Youth Organizers Television) documentary offers insight into the lives of young people making their way in a society in which joining the military seems to be their best or only option.

Let There Be Light
Filmed in 1946 for the U.S. government by the legendary director, John Huston. Highly controversial in its day for its unguarded depiction of WWII battlefield fatigue, Let There Be Light was suppressed by the government for over thirty years after it was produced.

Occupation: Dreamland
An unflinchingly candid portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraq city of Falluja during the winter of 2004. Winner of the Working Films Award at the 2005 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

C-Span: “Stories from the Frontlines”
Four veterans of the Iraq War, two Marines and two California National Guardsmen, discuss their experiences and answer questions regarding media coverage of the war, perceptions of Iraqi citizens, equipment for the military serving in Iraq, care for injured servicemen, and troop morale.

The Soldier’s Heart
A 60-minute PBS Frontline documentary, telling the stories of soldiers who have come home haunted by their experiences and asking whether the government is doing enough to help them.

C-Span: Soldiers Wounded in Iraq
Interviews with five wounded military personnel in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Hospital. They speak about their experience in Iraq and their adjustment to life with their injuries. One of these, Major Tammy Duckworth of the Illinois National Guard, plans to run for Congress.

Turtles Can Fly
This film by acclaimed director Bahman Ghobadi is the first film shot in Iraq after the American invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein. It tells the story of war’s youngest veterans, Iraq’s children, struggling to survive in a war zone. A heartbreaking masterpiece.

Voices in Wartime and Beyond Wartime
Heralded by the New York Times as “an elegant statement not only about the devastation of war, but also about poetry’s power to amaze,” these two films focus on the wounds of war and on the people who are working to heal them.

Art Exhibit • 100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans Who Have Served in Afghanistan or Iraq
“100 Faces” is a show of portraits, painted by Amherst artist Matt Mitchell, of Americans who have been witness to and part of the current theaters of war. Each portrait is shown next to a statement written by the person pictured in the portrait. The statements are letters, poems, recorded statements or other writings, which illustrate some small part of their personal experience of war. This exhibit will travel to several Valley venues in March and April.

Photographic Exhibit • Iraq: A War
In April a rare collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs from Iraq will be published by the Interlink Publishing Group under the title Iraq: A War. As a part of the launching of this volume, a selection of these photos will travel to several venues in Western Massachusetts. The Associated Press staff was recognized by the 2005 Pulitzer Prize “for its stunning series of photographs of the bloody yearlong combat inside Iraqi cities. ” Whether they set their sights on triumphant US soldiers relaxing in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces or on the injured Iraqi woman whose ambulance they shared, these photographers have brought home the horror and fear of war, and the reminder that we are all flesh and blood. Here are the pictures Americans have not seen: An Iraqi boy, trying to study with a bandaged eye; the bullet-riddled tail of a Red Crescent vehicle; American soldiers and Iraqi citizens alike praying; mass graves; brothers kneeling over dead brothers; babies in coffins; bloody body parts kept on ice. Each picture suggests the world and lives beyond the edges of the frame.

Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq
Nina Berman’s Purple Hearts is a book, an exhibit, and a film, all focused on wounded veterans of the war in Iraq and their stories. The images were taken between October, 2003 and May, 2004 in soldiers' homes and neighborhoods, and in military hospitals in the United States. At the center of this work are the veterans, introduced by Nina Berman in these words: "Several thousand soldiers have been wounded in action in Iraq. Thousands of others have been injured in war related events. They have lost arms, legs, eyes, ears, pieces of their brains. Some will spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs. These soldiers—all volunteer warriors—have returned home to heal their wounds and consider life, forever scarred and changed."

Theater • All My Sons
Arthur Miller's 1946 masterpiece, directed by Rob Freedman. With World War II recently ended, the Keller family is living a prosperous and normal life in middle America. One Keller son is missing-in-action and one son has returned home to restart his life. But the impact of the war and how the family business prospered ultimately shatters the normalcy. This story of love, betrayal, greed, and responsibility won the Best New Play Award of 1947. Although set a half century ago, Miller's work addresses a variety of timeless themes and issues related to war and homecoming. The April 23rd performance will feature a "talkback" about the play with the actors and veterans of different generations, including veterans from the Veterans Education Project.

Theater • The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth
A studio workshop performance and discussion, by students of Hampshire College, of a little known original drama by J.R.R. Tolkien. Based on the medieval battle of Maldon and inspired by Tolkien’s personal experience of two world wars, first as a combatant and then as a civilian, this grim and austere drama provides a unique glimpse into Tolkien’s views on war and heroism in the aftermath of World War II.