Director covers war on the front lines 

Hetherington co-directed “Restrepo” with Sebastian Junger. The documentary — which opens in San Francisco on July 2 — provides an intimate look into a soldier’s life on the frontline of the war in Afghanistan.

What inspired you to cover war? I returned to college late in my 20s for photography. On one project, I went to Liberia, which changed a lot for me. My understanding that in the world everything is interconnected really grew — to go to one of the poorest countries from one of the richest countries in the world.

How does that background relate to “Restrepo”? I’m trying to build a bridge to the American audiences about a war that’s happening in a far-off land. These soldiers act as a starting point for what’s happening in this war. War is obviously costing a lot of money, and with the economy as it is, Americans should really see where that money is going.

What does boredom do to soldiers? Wars can be boredom punctuated by terror. That’s not to say that boredom is boring. Some of the quiet times are some of the best parts of the film. This is not Hollywood. This is the real thing.

What physical toll did this project take? We had no running water or electricity. We all ended up pretty lean and wiry. I actually broke my leg in the process.

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Brent Begin

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