Thursday, September 24, 2015

Kandahar Journals Documentary

Tonight, I went to the world premiere of Kandahar Journals, which is a documentary about the experience of Louis Palu, a photojournalist.  Murray Brewster, the Canadian Press's defence correspondent, co-wrote the doc.  It was very moving and a pretty sharp depiction both of the war and of the experience of a war correspondent.  It resonated more the week after the story of CJ Chivers ending his work as a war correspondent. 

There was a Q&A afterwards:
Devin Gallagher, Murray Brewster, Louie Palu (L to R)

The first question was by Chief of Defence Staff General Jon Vance about the legacy of the war.  Apparently, Vance gets this question frequently.  Murray's answer was that it is too soon to tell.  Louis Palu spoke more about the legacy of the war for him and also how this movie is one of the legacies of the war.  It got me thinking about that question, as I might be asked it as well when I do book talks next winter when my book comes out.

I did have one thought about this.  Well, many given how the video and photos did a really nice job of showing how complex and difficult this war was/is.  But one stood out: no footage of development/governance efforts.  Paulu used only photos and video of patrols, embedding with the medical units, and the like--no interactions with the other parts of the Whole of Government effort.  I am not surprised as this omission is fairly typical.  Given how uncooperative some parts of government (see my forthcoming book) were, this is, again, not surprising.  But still worth remarking.  I was tempted to ask about it, but I felt I could do so some other time.

It was quite clear that the audience was full of people who either served in Afghanistan or who knew people who did.  I didn't stick around to talk to the filmmakers as I knew that there were others who really needed to do so.

The good news for those who didn't attend is that it will be screened elsewhere in Canada, and it will be on the documentary channel.

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