Filmmakers Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger were embedded with U.S. soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade in a firebase in Afghanistan's remote Korengal Valley throughout 2007 and 2008. Their resulting documentary, "Restrepo," was released in 2010; only now is it screening in Japan, and the irony is that almost nothing has changed in the interim.
At 14 years and counting, Afghanistan remains America's longest war, and President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country isn't happening anytime soon. The endless slog of counterinsurgency continues, and it seems like America's gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, was right about one thing: a nation awash in firearms can indeed resist governance if it chooses to do so.
"Restrepo," and its 2014 sequel, "Korengal," seek to capture the experience of being deployed on a frontline hilltop in Afghanistan: the grimy living conditions, the isolation, the cautious patrols, the vast stretches of boredom and goofing around, the daily exchanges of fire, and the occasional but shocking casualties.