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War Letters

2001

DOCUMENTARY

In every American conflict from the Revolution to the Persian Gulf War, American military men and women have captured the horror, pathos and intensity of battle by writing letters home. In 1998, in an effort to preserve this correspondence, editor Andrew Carroll set up the Legacy Project which subsequently collected 50,000 war letters. Using the most compelling and enlightening of these missives and newly discovered home movies, War Letters tells the story of American wars from the viewpoint of the men and women on the front lines and those who waited at home. The film features breathtaking eyewitness accounts of famous battles, intimate declarations of love and longing, poignant last letters written only days before soldiers were killed, and many profound and memorable expressions of exhilaration, fear, whimsy, exasperation, anger and patriotism. Full of poetry, compassion, humor, determination and raw emotion, the featured letters ultimately transcend the subject of war and address some of the most powerful contradictions of the human condition.

Featuring readings by Joan Allen, Edward Norton, Bill Paxton, David Hyde Pierce, Giovanni Ribisi, Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Spacey, Eric Stoltz, and Courtney B. Vance.



REVIEWS

“Director and producer, Robert Kenner, has beautifully translated the letters for television by enhancing rather than illustrating the words with wartime clips, photographs and impressionistic re-creations.  War Letters goes beyond descriptions of battles and the emergence of specific acts of bravery and cruelty.  It reminds us – though we don't need much reminding now – of how wrenching events intensify the beauty of ordinary life.” — New York Times

War Letters is extraordinary indeed.  Heartwarming and heartbreaking, stunning in its simplicity, this rainbow of riches humanizes the Willies and Joes of Bill Maudlin’s World War II cartoons along with those of other generations.” — Los Angeles Times






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