I saw Severe Clear down in Austin, Texas, during SXSW this year. It is a frightening, uncensored and raw film about the experiences of the Marines during the invasion of Iraq. It was created by footage taken by First Lieutenant Michael T. Scotti as well as Mini-DV video footage shot by him and other members of Charlie Company 1st Marines. Through their cameras we see the raw sounds of war, capturing their epic journey across the globe as they come face to face with death, destruction and what it means to be a US Marine.
I found myself having the chills when you saw the true version of the war and what it means to be part of the war - both as soldiers and as civilians. There are no winners. We all lose in wars. They are sometimes necessary, but I doubt we will ever have "a winner". One of the comments from the film that stayed with me. The biggest enemy on the battlefield is time. Time makes you think. You do not want to think.
I was fortunate to listen to Michael T. Scotti talk about the movie, and the probably the most striking moment was to see one of his fellow members of the Company burst in tears after the movie. He later came over and they hugged. They clearly have been through things most of us would rather not The experiences live on inside them. Always. I wonder if they will ever be the same again...
I read somewhere that many soldiers when they get back from the war chooses to back to the war. They claim it is easier to cope with their experiences by continuing to live in it. It prevents you from having the time to process them. When you have to face them, you have to face them. I am not sure anyone would like to face these images of a routine day of death constantly around you. Death of civilians. Death of friends. Just death. There are no winners.
Yet many forget that these experiences will always be the same, if not worse, for the civilians in the region. Children. Adults. Men. Women. They will have to deal with the same images. They did not choose to join the military. They lack any training. They are in it because they live there. Not by choice.
The movie is a true story about these experiences and ironically also a monument of what true citizen media could be. Uncensored, direct and almost overwhelming with emotions. I promise you will not walk out of the movie theatre the same as you walked in. I doubt anyone will look on war as a video game again after seeing this monument of the experiences in war.
It is uncensored. It is raw. It is just real.