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War Photographer

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

{OSCAR NOMINATION, Best Documentary Feature 2002}
{PEABODY AWARD, Georg Foster Peabody Award 2003}
{EMMY AWARD NOMINATION, Cinematography 2004}
{WINNER of 16 International Awards and Nominations 2002-2004}

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, WAR PHOTOGRAPHER is the compelling portrait of the man considered the bravest and most important war photographer of our time, James Nachtwey. The film has been in competition in 36 major international film festivals, played theatrically in over 50 cities and has 5 times won prizes for Best Film or Best Documentary.

Although he has won many prestigious photography awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year several times, Nachtwey is still not well-known by name. Most people, however, would recognize his extraordinarily powerful images of the violence and suffering of wartime that have appeared in almost every major publication worldwide over the last two decades.

For over two years Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei follows Nachtwey around the world, uncovering compassionate and unsettling images from some of the most incendiary spots on the globe -- the burning farmhouses of Kosovo, the homeless and hungry of Indonesia, a battle between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youth on the West Bank. Frei has created an enthralling yet solemn film about the renowned photographer's daily routine and also his primary motivations, fears and beliefs.

Interviews with colleagues, including CNN's Christiane Amanpour, help describe the remarkable personality of James Nachtwey. Hardly fitting the standard description of a hard-boiled war veteran, instead Nachtwey is a shy, unobtrusive man with the distinction of a philosophy professor and an inner reserve that have allowed him to persevere through the horrors he uncovers and records.


Engrossing! Exceptionally intimate, allowing us almost literally to see the world through Mr. Nachtwey's eyes. --New York Times

A great photojournalist and a genuine hero! --New York Magazine

This is as close to being inside a photojournalist's mind as it gets. --Time Out NY

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour, Hans-Hermann Klare, Christiane Breustedt, Des Wright (II)
  • Directors: Christian Frei
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, German
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C825I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,046 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "War Photographer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Bjorn Brekke on October 18, 2003
Format: DVD
James Nachtwey is a great human being. Committed to war photography for over 20 years, he proves in this film that the power of empathy is stronger than the power of cynicism. Still able to photograph with compassion and unobtrusiveness, after all those years witnessing misery and evil close up, demands respect.
When I first saw Mr. Nachtwey in flesh and blood, at a slide presentation at UC Berkeley in 2000, the thing that struck me immediately was his soft tone and his sparse comments about his photographs. I guess this was not your typical stereotype of a hardened, irritable and egoistic war photographer. It became obvious to me that Mr. Nachtwey is a man of extraordinary principle, courage and sheer force of will. His photographs speaks a thousand times louder than any political declaration.
Photography is potentially a universal language that trancends cultural barriers. Mr. Nachtwey's photographs of a mob killing a man right in front of his eyes in, despite pleading them desperatly to stop, communicates an universal message. It says: "The world is watching" and "I will not allow myself to be intimidated by murderers". Only an immense moral conviction can create such images, and James Nachtwey has got it.
This kind of photography is difficult. James Nachtwey is one of the few photographers who are able to grab people by instinct rather by intellect. In the film, Nachtwey talks about "the discipline of the frame". In order to make good photographs one always have to take into account their compositions. What makes James Nachtwey stand out is his continually well composed war photographs. Remember, this is not fashion shots, where you have endless time to arrange and compose your frame. Mr.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. Finkemeyer on November 5, 2004
Format: DVD
I'm basically repeating some of what other people have stated, but I have to add to this as well: This is an amazing film that I am extremely grateful to have found. It provides such a close, intimate, detailed view of one person's life, and it shows exactly how courageous one person needs to be in life. It shows the smallest details about being a photographer - the patience required, the willingness to put yourself out there for a better cause, the caring heart you need to have to help the people you capture in film, and the professional detachment you need to walk away from them. But not only does the film provide a view into a war photographer's life, which it does supremely well, it also shows us the life of the many people he works with and photographs. The lives these people lead are sometimes incredibly difficult, and both Nachtwey and Frei manage to capture them without any pretense. Just like someone else mentions in the reviews - this film was definitely one of the most profound movie watching experiences of my life. It has definitely affected me in very many ways. It's simply an amazing film - please watch it if you can.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 2, 2004
Format: DVD
This 2001 film is a documentary about James Nachtwey, a war photographer whose camera has documented much of the horror in the world during his 20 year career. He was in Nicaragua, Rwanda and Bosnia during some of the most profound episodes of violence and his photos have won acclaim worldwide.

He's a slim, quiet and determined man and he is totally devoted to his craft. He risks his life and brings the agony right onto our television screens and magazines. Christiane Amanpour narrates some of the film and we see video clips of her as well as our photographer, covering the story of a huge mass grave that has been dug up in Bosnia. Because is through their eyes that the rest of the world will learn these stories, she talks about the tremendous responsibilities that they, as journalists, face.

I sat there, transfixed by one terrible image after another. There's death, destruction, crippling poverty and crippled people. And the there are the grieving relatives. It was awful. So awful, in fact, that I actually fell asleep. Perhaps that was because all this horror was too much to handle in one sitting.

I'm glad this film was made. It's a testament to one man's dedication to his profession. It's just that it's really hard to watch. And so my recommendation is limited to only those hearty souls who are willing to catch a glimpse of the world's misery.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JM on July 8, 2005
Format: DVD
This is an incredible documentary. A must for anyone interested in photojournalism as well as all those truly interested in world peace. A calm, thoughtful photographer continually stepping into dangerous and tragic circumstances and capturing for us and humanity glimpses of the horrific reality of war that are so often and increasingly ignored by the mainstream press in favor of superficial entertainment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Enzel VINE VOICE on December 13, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have never before seen a film like this. You see what war photographer James Nachtwey sees as he holds his camera to his eye thanks to a tiny movie camera mounted on his Canon SLR. And he really gets into the action of the wars he covers. Yet he stays calm because he has an important message to deliver to people in world more focused on celebrities than the huge of amount of suffering he sees.
You also see Nachtwey described by others including Christiane Amanpour of CNN. Amanpour is a seasoned journalist who finds Nachtwey's cool demeanor in the face of war an enigma. He is also described by German photo editors and his best friend. You also see Nachtwey collaborate with his printer.
Nachtwey challenges us to face these horrors and do something about them. He asks "if we don't who will?" A good question.
This DVD really made me think and I learned a lot about how one of the world's great photographers works. There is also a seperate interview with Nachtwey which is interesting.
Finally, Nachtwey's book Inferno is back in print and available on Amazon.com. When it was out of print it sold at a big premium to what it costs now. It is a stunningly marvelous and poignant collection of photos. I suggest you get it while you can. They are hard to view but great for promoting the cause of humanity.
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