Documentary Film
83 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Florian Baron, Herbert Burkert
Florian Baron
Yunas Orchestra, Jana Irmert, Fatima Camara
Johannes Waltermann
Clemens Walter
Florian Baron
Jana Irmert, Linus Nickl, Nils Vogel-Bartling
The trauma of 9/11, the ideology of violent retribution, military service as a patriotic family tradition, the “unfairness” of today’s warfare – in their voice-overs, five young Afghanistan war veterans first establish familiar foundations. Joe, Torrie, Mike, James and Justin from Pittsburgh are slow to show us their faces. Physically unharmed but full of inner pain they have become the misunderstood upon their return. Their violent experiences speak a language that the people at home don’t understand.

“Stress” finds an artistic approach that impressively emphasizes the spoken word with all its unmistakeable signals of emotions and produces a physical experience of the tension of a permanent state of alarm in all its complexity. An extremely slow camera and sound follow the verbal descriptions of war experiences with everyday scenes, like a somnambulistic nightmare, creating plastic almost-still lives where everything can be looked at from every side but still remains intangible. They reveal a life behind glass and in a leaden time that moves inexorably forward but allows no real progress. The coda of this intoxicating and oppressive composition reverberates for a long time: it’s Torrie’s conviction that ultimately the army is still a good place to grow up.

André Eckardt

Awarded with the DEFA Sponsoring Prize for an outstanding long German documentary film
Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize