Hell and Back Again


In 2009, U.S. Marines launched a major helicopter assault on a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. Within hours of being dropped deep behind enemy lines, 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris' unit (US Marines Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment) is attacked from all sides. Cut off and surrounded, the Marines fight a ghostlike enemy and experience immense hostility from displaced villagers caught in the middle.

Embedded in Echo Company during the assault, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis captures the frontline action with visceral immediacy. When Sergeant Harris returns home to North Carolina after a life-threatening injury in battle, the film evolves from stunning war reportage to the story of one man's personal apocalypse. With the love and support of his wife, Ashley, Harris struggles to overcome the difficulties of transitioning back to civilian life.

In immense physical pain, Sergeant Harris grows addicted to his medication. His agony deepens as he attempts to reconcile the gulf between his experience of war and the terrifying normalcy of life at home. The two realities intertwine to communicate both the extraordinary drama of war and, for a generation of soldiers, the no less difficult experience of returning home, as a whole generation of Marines struggles to find an identity in a country that prefers to be indifferent.


SERGEANT NATHAN HARRIS  ASHLEY HARRIS (The Marines Of Echo Company 2nd Battalion,
8th Marine Regiment)


Hell and Back Again celebrated its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the World Cinema Grand Jury and Cinematography Awards. The film was released in UK cinemas on 12 October 2011.






Edited by
FIONA OTWAY (Oscar-nominated Iraq in Fragments)

Shot entirely on a customised Digital SLR Camera rig with converted audio equipment, Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary work that lays bare the true cost of war with an intimacy no previous film about the conflict in Afghanistan has been able to achieve.


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