Healing the hidden wounds of armed struggle
In October 2015, as part of the WindUp Film Festival (formerly Williamstown Film Festival), an audience of more than 70 attended a screening of the powerful Of Men and War followed by conversation between director Laurent Bécue-Renard and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson.
The film focuses on a Napa Valley-based retreat center for post-traumatic stress (PTS)-afflicted veterans of the Iraq war. As described at docudays.ua, some “rage and rail against the world’s indignities, but over time their deep humanity emerges, thanks to the efforts of pioneering therapist Fred Gusman. Deeply grounded in authentic, earthy characters, filmmakers Camille Cottagnoud and Bécue-Renard gain stunning access to these fragile souls and their stories, encountering them in an uncannily intuitive way with their cameras to create a uniquely fluid intimacy as they explore themes of forgiveness, trust, and guilt—and the shame of brutal acts committed during wartime.” Co-sponsors Gaudino Fund and the WWII Fund brought the deeply reflective Bécue-Renard to Williamstown from France for the moving post-film conversation.