Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington (15)



Which Way is the Front Line from here? The Life and Time Of Tim Hetherington

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Time Out says

Tue Oct 8 2013

When you think of war photographers, it’s cynical, balls-on-the-table macho men who spring to mind. In this doc about Tim Hetherington – killed in a mortar attack in Libya in 2011 – we learn that what made him a great war photographer wasn’t tough-guy bravado. It was his genuine warmth. It’s there in his photographs – not action shots most of them, but pictures taken at off-moments. Like his portraits of American soldiers asleep in Afghanistan on a slow day, one with his arm folded under his head like child. He called another picture ‘Man Eden’ – a shot of US troops in their boxers digging sand out of the side of the hill. Bliss. What interested him was conflict as bonding – the fact that young men fight for each other, not for ideology. Is war part of their hard-wiring?

This portrait of Hetherington is filmed by his friend Sebastian Junger, who co-directed the Oscar-nominated Afghanistan doc ‘Restrepo’ with him. There is plenty of footage of Hetherington. So much, you wonder if he wanted to leave a part of himself behind should the worst come to the worst. In one unbearably lovely scene he kisses his dad, brushing aside his old man’s stiff-upper-lip Englishness. He knew he had to stop combat reporting. We see him at a conference telling a room full of people that it’s veteran war photographers who die on the frontline. And he’d recently met the woman – Idil Ibrahim – he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. And yet he still went to Libya. Intelligent and moving.



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Release details



UK release:

Fri Oct 11, 2013


78 mins

Cast and crew


Sebastian Junger


Tim Hetherington

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