×

Which Way Is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington

Sebastian Junger's docu "Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?" offers a moving requiem for his "Restrepo" co-director, the late photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington.

With:
With: Tim Hetherington, Alistair Hetherington, Judith Hetherington, James Brabazon, Sebastian Junger, Peter Bouckaert, Chris Anderson, Idil Ibrahim.

Sebastian Junger’s docu “Which Way Is the Front Line From Here?” offers a moving requiem for his “Restrepo” co-director, the photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, who was killed by shrapnel from mortar fire in Misrata, Libya, in 2011. Featuring Hetherington’s eloquent photographs; interviews with him over the years; visceral video from war zones in Liberia, Afghanistan and Libya; and crisply shot studio footage of his parents, girlfriend, and various colleagues sharing their memories, the film pays tribute to an empathetic man who became a leading chronicler of the world’s trouble spots.

HBO will air the film on April 18, just prior to the second anniversary of Hetherington’s death. The telecast will coincide with the Grove Press publication of “Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer” by Alan Huffman.

Although the pic’s brief running time rules out an in-depth consideration of Hetherington’s entire life, it covers the essentials via an early interview with the man, as well as commentary from his father. Hetherington was the youngest of three kids born to a working-class English family that moved frequently during his youth, giving him a taste for the peripatetic lifestyle he enjoyed as an adult. After studies at Oxford, he traveled in Tibet and India for two years, discovering a passion for photography. At the age of 26, he enrolled in a photojournalism course at Cardiff U., where professors and peers identified him as a true talent, with the capability to work across media formats.

A project documenting young Liberian soccer players, some of whom had been former rebel fighters, first brought Hetherington to West Africa in 1999. He spent the greater part of eight years there, reporting on social and political issues and covering the continent’s civil wars. The pic’s producer James Brabazon recounts with awe Hetherington’s first experience as a war correspondent, during the period when the pair lived behind Liberian rebel lines, the only foreign journalists to do so. Photographs illustrate his story of Hetherington bravely interfering when a commander threatened to shoot the local clinic’s only doctor.

While some photojournalists feel that speaking to the subjects of their photographs compromises the objectivity of their pictures, Hetherington was not among them. Photos and field-video footage show him creating a genuine and immediate bond with elderly fisherman in Sri Lanka, well-dressed tots in India, blind children in Sierra Leone, and the American soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Korengal, Afghanistan, where he shot “Restrepo” with Junger.

As Junger notes, Hetherington was the ideal co-director. His personality, fitness, bravery and work ethic clearly made him beloved by the soldiers, who are shown affectionately teasing him in field footage. The film also acknowledges the toll that Hetherington’s career took on his personal life and health; ironically, at the time of death at age 40, he was planning to start a family with his girlfriend, Somali-American filmmaker Idil Ibrahim.

Production values are topnotch, smoothly blending various moving-image formats and photos. The resonant score by Joel Goodman smartly resists sentiment. A stirring montage of Hetherington’s photos screens under the end credits accompanied by the Irish folk dirge “Danny Boy.”

Which Way Is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington

U.S. - U.K.

Production: An HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Tripoli Street, Goldcrest Films production. (International sales: Goldcrest Intl., London.) Produced by James Brabazon, Nick Quested. Executive producer, Sheila Nevins. Co-producer, Gretchen McGowan. Directed by Sebastian Junger.

Crew: Camera (color, DV, HDV, HD), James Brabazon, Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger, Topaz Adizes, Jake Clennell, Philip Clyde-Smith, Graham Smith, Kristana Textor, Phil Tidy, Jeremiah Zagar; editors, Geeta Gandbhir, Maya Mumma; music, Joel Goodman; sound, Mike Suarez; assistant producer, Sasha Joelle Achilli. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Documentary Premieres), Jan. 21, 2013. Running time: 79 MIN.

With: With: Tim Hetherington, Alistair Hetherington, Judith Hetherington, James Brabazon, Sebastian Junger, Peter Bouckaert, Chris Anderson, Idil Ibrahim.

More Film

  • Stuber

    ‘Stuber’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Stuber.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.91 million through Sunday for 1,325 national ad airings on 42 networks. [...]

  • BTS - J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jimin,

    BTS' 'Bring the Soul: The Movie' Gets Global Theatrical Release

    BTS will be back on the big screen this summer. The Korean pop group announced today that their latest feature film, “Bring the Soul: The Movie,” will have a global release on August 7. It arrives just six and a half months after the septet’s last film release, “Love Yourself in Seoul.” “Bring the Soul” [...]

  • Box Office: 'Yesterday' Movie Takes on

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' and 'Yesterday' Take on 'Toy Story 4'

    The weekend box office has gone to the dolls. “Annabelle Comes Home,” a supernatural horror film about a possessed toy, is facing off against another band of plastic figurines: “Toy Story 4.” Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is expected to dominate box office charts again over newcomers “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Yesterday,” a fantasy musical set [...]

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Oscars: 31 Upcoming Films That Could Enter the Awards Race

    The year reaches the halfway mark on June 30, and traditionally films from the first six months have an uphill battle in the Oscar race. However, this year’s January-June crop might get a boost from the accelerated schedule: Nominations voting is a tight Jan. 2-Jan. 7, 2020. So if voters start their homework now, early [...]

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content