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Friday, April 07, 2006

MA's Pioneer Valley Hosts "Stories of War and Return"

If you live in Massachusetts, you may want to check out some of the many events taking place in Nostio's month-long program, Stories of War and Return. The collection of films, lectures, poetry readings, plays, symposia, photo and art exhibits are "aimed at creating a community of understanding and support for veterans returning from service in Afghanistan and Iraq and for their families, and at encouraging a wider public dialogue and understanding concerning the realities of war."

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

An ever so small selection of some of the film offerings:

Achilles in Vietnam
A 90-minute documentary by Charles Berkowitz, based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Shay. The stories of Homer and those of Vietnam veterans are woven together to portray the trauma of combat and survival.

After the Fog
Ten U.S. combat veterans, nearly all from Vermont, tell of their military experience in WWII, Vietnam and Iraq. They provide vivid, poignant, personally charged accounts of their own enlistment, training, combat, and return to civilian life. Their stories, skillfully woven together by the filmmaker, create a compelling and moving portrait of the American veteran across several generations.

All That I Can Be
At once an intimate portrait and an exploration of the promises and realities of the U.S. military in post-9/11 America. This YO-TV (Youth Organizers Television) documentary offers insight into the lives of young people making their way in a society in which joining the military seems to be their best or only option.

Let There Be Light
Filmed in 1946 for the U.S. government by the legendary director, John Huston. Highly controversial in its day for its unguarded depiction of WWII battlefield fatigue, Let There Be Light was suppressed by the government for over thirty years after it was produced.

The Soldier’s Heart
A 60-minute PBS Frontline documentary, telling the stories of soldiers who have come home haunted by their experiences and asking whether the government is doing enough to help them.

Voices in Wartime and Beyond Wartime
Heralded by the New York Times as “an elegant statement not only about the devastation of war, but also about poetry’s power to amaze,” these two films focus on the wounds of war and on the people who are working to heal them.

A few other events (there are more) in the program include:

Art Exhibit • 100 Faces of War Experience: Portraits and Words of Americans Who Have Served in Afghanistan or Iraq
“100 Faces” is a show of portraits, painted by Amherst artist Matt Mitchell, of Americans who have been witness to and part of the current theaters of war. Each portrait is shown next to a statement written by the person pictured in the portrait. The statements are letters, poems, recorded statements or other writings, which illustrate some small part of their personal experience of war. This exhibit will travel to several Valley venues in March and April.

Theater • All My Sons
Arthur Miller's 1946 masterpiece, directed by Rob Freedman. With World War II recently ended, the Keller family is living a prosperous and normal life in middle America. One Keller son is missing-in-action and one son has returned home to restart his life. But the impact of the war and how the family business prospered ultimately shatters the normalcy. This story of love, betrayal, greed, and responsibility won the Best New Play Award of 1947. Although set a half century ago, Miller's work addresses a variety of timeless themes and issues related to war and homecoming. The April 23rd performance will feature a "talkback" about the play with the actors and veterans of different generations, including veterans from the Veterans Education Project.

Although the film showings and art exhibits run through the end of the month, the crowning event is the following symposium scheduled to be held on April 22, 2006:

Rituals of Return and Healing
Featured Speakers: Kristin Henderson, William P. Mahedy, James G. Munroe, Philip G. Salois, Jonathan Shay
On Saturday April 22, 2006 the Nostoi Project, “Stories of War and Return,” will close with a one-day workshop focused on “rituals of return and healing.” This workshop will not be a time for long lectures but rather for deep searching and discussion shared by those most closely involved in the return and healing of soldiers from combat-secular care-givers (psychiatrists, therapists, counselors), religious caregivers (military chaplains and local clergy), veterans, and their families. The aim of this day will be to reach towards a fuller, more holistic understanding of the wounds inflicted by war and of the appropriate therapies for their healing.

Date, time, and place information for all of the above can be found on the Nostoi Calendar of Events page. Simply click on the event you'd like to attend for more details.

Boy, I wish I lived in Massachusetts!

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