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Operation Homecoming - Writing the Wartime Experience

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This pioneering film illuminates the extraordinary experiences of American servicemen and women through their own powerful stories. Based on the acclaimed NEA-sponsored book of the same name, this eloquent and moving (Entertainment Weekly) film offers a profound look at the lives of those serving in America s armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Distinguished actors like Robert Duvall, Beau Bridges and Aaron Eckhart give voice to the poems, stories, essays, letters, and journal entries of people on the frontlines. Weaving these dramatic readings with interviews with their authors, OPERATION HOMECOMING transforms the written word into a living, breathing look at the human side of America s current military conflicts. An honest and intensely personal look at war through firsthand accounts, this groundbreaking documentary adds depth to individual experiences by looking at them within the context of the long and venerable tradition of war writing. By turns poetic, comic, and chilling (Variety), this film gives voice to those heroes who have served and wish to share their experiences with the world.

DVD Features: Deleted Interview Clips; Poetry Reading; Men in Black Illustrated Storyboard; Making of the Short Film Featurette; Theatrical Trailer; 5.1 Sound

Review

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. The best of the almost too many Iraq war docs is this one. It uses a variety of filmmaking styles, from dramatic re-creations to narrated documentary footage to animation, to capture the boots-on-the-ground experience of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on active-duty soldiers' writings about combat. Riveting. --Orlando Sentinel

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. The best of the almost too many Iraq war docs is this one. It uses a variety of filmmaking styles, from dramatic re-creations to narrated documentary footage to animation, to capture the boots-on-the-ground experience of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on active-duty soldiers' writings about combat. Riveting. --Orlando Sentinel

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. The best of the almost too many Iraq war docs is this one. It uses a variety of filmmaking styles, from dramatic re-creations to narrated documentary footage to animation, to capture the boots-on-the-ground experience of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on active-duty soldiers' writings about combat. Riveting. --Orlando Sentinel

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Duvall, Jack Lewis, Brian Turner, James Salter, Sharon D. Allen
  • Directors: ~
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • 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
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WOSB0U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,269 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Operation Homecoming - Writing the Wartime Experience" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on April 29, 2008
Format: DVD
I think I've been socially hardened by documentaries that don't show all sides of a story, or instill the documentary-makers' opinions or images (see Sicko) in place of what should be being told.

So it is with a heavy sigh of relief that I wholeheartedly recommend this Academy Award nominated documentary, OPERATION HOMECOMING: WRITING THE WARTIME EXPERIENCE.

First let's look at why this film is so successful. It's fresh. Most war writings are done by established or well-groomed writers, giving them decent syntax, etc., but lacking that up-close and personal process that goes along with firing weapons and being fired at during war. And this is where Operation Homecoming succeeds. The writings are all firsthand accountings from soldiers who've walked the walk and talked the talk.

Secondly is the unique filming. Each segment contains a different milieu and a different style of filming. From animation to quick-flash photography of those that've given their lives, the stories are told in a highly interesting fashion that keeps the viewer very interested.

Thirdly is the internal conflict that so easily comes across. From the beginning of the film when soldiers discuss their upbringing from childhood and being told killing is wrong, to being thrown into a situation where you're trained to kill for "God and Country," the film watcher understands the conundrum these men and women are put into.

The final successful element is the men and women themselves and how they deal with tough situations. There's never the "Why am I here" question asked. They know why they're there. They don't care about policy or partisan politics or money or oil.
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This is one of the three documentaries about Iraq that were nominated for the "Best Documentary Feature" Academy Award. All three films were riveting, but this one is the most personal, the most touching and the most artistic. You meet the authors in interviews, and find out their background story, as well as what prompted them to write about their experiences. Famous actors then read that writing as the filmmakers illustrate the stories in a variety of different ways....still photography, animation, footage shot by soldiers, etc. This film is visually compelling and emotionally powerful; non-partisan; human. It simply tells some of the stories of the men and women who serve - what they see, what they feel, and what they experience. The film is poetic, beautiful and should be seen by every American, regardless of political affiliation.
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I just viewed this film though the Netflix feed to my TV, and have added it to my wish list. As a navy photographer for approximately two years in Vietnam I came home an irrevocably different individual than when I departed. This documentary is the best I have seen that captures the essence of the human toll of any combat experience. Those of us who returned physically whole were nonetheless emotionally scarred for life. You carry with you a burden that is sometimes too great to bear. Survivor's guilt, guilt over the things you have done or witnessed, guilt for having in any way been a part of such an obscenity. There is a quote from Plato in this film that sums up the reality of these conflicts, which is "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

My wife frequently asked why I never talked of my Vietnam experiences, and I would flippantly dismiss these queries with a comment about it being "ancient history." The truth, of course, is that the traumas had all been "safely" locked away behind a door that was never intended to be reopened. You return knowing that you are a changed individual, feeling as though you have left your soul behind and that marriage and children are not a sensible part of your future. Anger and trust issues plague you day and night, and you self-medicate with alcohol and/or street drugs to dull the pain that never goes away. The lucky ultimately suck it up and soldier on, reintegrating as best as possible into society. But the symptoms and muscle memory from the wartime experiences create a continuation of behavior patterns so deeply ingrained that you do not even realize they are there, or how destructive they are to all relationships.
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Format: DVD
"It is a false notion that we have to recover from everything. Some things are unhealable." --U.S. Army Sgt. Prior

This worthy recent Best Documentary Oscar nominee has a wealth of material and presentation as several veterans of the present Iraq and other American Wars delve deeply into their feelings and reflections of what it is like to be a soldier. Mixing some animation, quotations, actual war footage, and interviews with the actual authors, several actors make their inner journey tangible by reading their texts. 'Operation Homecoming,...' is an accessible inner journey of the lives of soldiers. Poignant and transporting.

(Featuring quotes by Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, and Philip Caputo, et al. Interviews include Anthony Swofford as well as several other vets from previous wars, reflecting upon fear, responsibility, guilt, pride, loss, and boredom from the resulting wars. Also featuring Robert Duvall and Aaron Eckhart, et al, reading select texts.)
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