Posted by: Jie Yi See | February 28, 2010

Reader review: ‘Smash His Camera’ and ‘Restrepo’

Shared by Jeneva Pace Powell, who has attended five or six True/False festivals. The Missourian is featuring reader contributions all weekend. If you’d like to submit your photos, stories or reviews, send them to

Smash His Camera

Smash His Camera” has been a film I’ve been looking forward to all week. Since seeing a trailer for it on IFC channel, it has been one to watch on my short list for True/False 2010. Even Mom wanted to see it, and Ron Gallela did not disappoint. The nostalgia for the era long since gone was brought back to us through his images, most notably his signature piece “Windblown Jackie.”

Through all his lawsuits and challenges, I found myself questioning his “art,” weighing the balance of his livelihood vs. a star’s privacy. The repercussions of the lawsuits and the loss of Princess Diana blurred the line for me, and then when I consider the merit of today’s “stars” (so loosely defined), I find I have little empathy for those who bring attention upon themselves and forfeit a level of privacy with their increasing virtual accessibilty- namely Ashton’s Twitter project. Meanwhile I grapple with Gallela’s dark room scenes and his care for archiving his work, clearly demonstrating his love for his craft as he further endeared himself to me. One of my favorite films thus far.


Also remarkable is the film “Restrepo“. Since watching The Hurt Locker and learning Restrepo was its documentary counterpart, it quickly became number one on my list of films to see.

This past fall, during the planning of my 20 year high school reunion, I found that one of my classmates has been serving in Iraq and Afghanistan off and on for the past nine years. Knowing him, I’ve felt more personally invested in understanding more of what goes on. I’ve felt it more my personal duty to try harder, to grasp his world, knowing while I could never have his experience, at least he could have my empathy.

Restrepo was hard to watch. Gritty and gut wrenching. Restrepo gave me a sampling of just what a soldier goes through on a daily basis, made me more thankful, and more determined to keep in contact with him as he deploys back next week. I will no doubt have a lot to talk to him about, thanks to this film.


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