What does it mean to lead men in war? What does it mean to come home? Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary film that asks and answers these questions with a power and intimacy no previous film about the conflict in Afghanistan has been able to achieve.
In this groundbreaking work of cinema, two overlapping narratives are brilliantly intercut – the life of a Marine at war on the front, and the life the same Marine in recovery, at home – creating both a dreamlike quality and a strikingly realistic depiction of how Marines experience this war.
Following Sergeant Nathan Harris of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, during a major assault on a Taliban stronghold, and his painful return home after a severe injury, the two stories communicate both the extraordinary drama of war and the no less shocking experience of returning home, as a whole generation of Marines struggle to find an identity in a country that prefers to be indifferent.
Ruby is a mining ghost town 50 miles southwest of Tucson and 4 miles north of the Mexico border. At 4,200 feet above sea level, Ruby is full of desert plants, range grasses, mesquite, walnut and oak trees. But the vegetation is not why I traveled down the remote and rugged dirt roads to visit this place in the middle of nowhere.
Ruby is one of the few ghost towns that has not been vandalized by people and it has been protected for years. The only thing that has eroded this old town is the environment and time itself.
So this would be a perfect place to shoot in the afternoon fading light with the Sony EX1, the Letus Extreme and the Vinten Vision 3 tripod. My bother-in-law and I walked the many acres with my gear and shot for about four hours. I shot just about everything that was sitting in good light. Unfortunately, I could not include any shots of the open mine that was in the hillside. I did not bring any lights with me on this trip.
I shot this film in 720 30p in overcrank mode (60 frames per second). I color graded each shot with Magic Bullet Looks.
I used a Nikon 16mm f2.8 fisheye, Nikon 24mm f2.8, Nikon 50mm f1.4, Nikon 135mm f2.8 and a Nikon 300mm f4 telephoto lens. The 50mm f1.4 was very helpful inside when shooting the piano because there was very little available light.
I'm gonna watch "The Hills Have Eyes" again when I get home.