The release of Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty on Jan 25that the IFI is accompanied by screenings of two films that expose the horrors of the Vietnam War and the on-going military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the face of social pressure to remain silent about the human cost of war, two groups of veterans nearly thirty years apart came back from war to tell their story in This is Where We Take Our Stand (25th-27th January) and Winter Soldier (1st – 3rd Feb).
In 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against the War invited returning soldiers to go to Detroit and speak out about the war crimes they had committed and witnessed while stationed there. The Winterfilm collective realised the historical importance of the event and documented it, creating Winter Soldier. The documentary was barely seen by audiences until was finally released to American cinemas in 2005. Many choking back tears as they spoke, veterans (including former Presidential candidate John Kerry) revealed shocking and officially sanctioned participation in horrific war crimes and acts of violence including the destruction of entire villages, the torture and rape of civilians, as well as executions of POWs.
Thirty-seven years later, in 2008, another generation of veterans returning home from war in Iraq and Afghanistan gathered to take part in a similar event. Documented in This is Where We Take Our Stand, they bravely testify to their war experiences. Over three days they challenged a public silence that still runs very deep and underscores a willingness to accept unspeakable horrors – as long as we don’t know about them.
Tickets are available from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie.