War Photographer

Christian Frei | 96 minutes | Suissimage | <a href="http://www.war-photographer.com/" target="new">Trailer</a>

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If war is hell, is war photography a kind of sympathy for the devil? Can a man who depends on death for his livelihood also be a humanitarian? This Oscar-nominated portrait of one of the world’s most famous war photographers, James Nachtwey, dances around such questions, even as it accepts the American photographer’s view of himself as an antiwar photographer. Nachtwey has risked his life covering the major conflicts of the past two decades, including Rwanda, Bosnia, and El Salvador. He’s also a dedicated mass-market photographer whose commitment to his craft hinges on a faith in photography’s power to move not just the committed activist, but also the casual newsweekly subscriber.

Filmmaker Christian Frei provides only basic biographical details about his subject and declines to speculate on the sources of Nachtwey’s ambition. This sacrifice of context in exchange for you are there! immediacy — a miniature camcorder strapped atop Nachtwey’s Canon in the West Bank provides harrowing footage — is what makes War Photographer at once a frustrating and brilliant documentary.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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