Doc Blog

Casualties of War

Tuesday night, September 11, the world premiere of Body of War took place. The film, a project directed by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue, is the story of Iraq war veteran Tomas Young.  This young man was shot after having been in Iraq a mere five weeks; the bullet wound left him paralysed from the neck down. During the film, the audience was full of emotion.  The film is powerful; there is no other way to describe it.  Tomas was very candid about his situation and how his decision to enlist, being shot in Iraq and the war have completely changed his life, his politics and his sense of who he is.

We get to see Tomas become a young veteran activist against the war in Iraq. Along with footage of Tomas's journeys to several anti-war protests, services to honour him, and his daily struggles, Spiro mixes clips from the voting for/against the war on C-SPAN and clips from various news channels.  There were times throughout the film where everyone gasped due to the difficulties Tomas has to deal with; for example, loss of control of basic bodily functions.  As well, Tomas is very open about his feelings; he states " I cry uncontrollaby sometimes when my body shows me how in disagreement it is with me; other times, it is when I see people walking down the street.  I'm jealous of people who can walk."  Seeing Tomas' resilience juxtaposed with clips from the news showing the scare tactics used by the American government became an effective means to make the point that this war has perhaps gotten too much out of control.

After the screening,  Tomas Young  appeared on stage, along with mother and father, and the film team who had watched the documentary with the audience.  The response was a standing ovation.  Young said a few words to express his gratitude and a few minutes after, Eddie Vedder came to the stage to sing a couple of songs he'd written specifically for this film. The audience roared again and joined in the singing "No More War."

This film still needs a distributor.  Once it gets picked up, there is no doubt it will generate a lot of controversy.  The hope is to reach a wide audience and get them to think about the troubles war brings.

Body of War is screening for the last time on Saturday. Check out the link for times and location.
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