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Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War by Victoria Midwinter Pitt

Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War by Victoria Midwinter Pitt (Essential Media and Entertainment)

Judges' Comments

This documentary honours its title’s promise to take us inside the experience of Australian Defence Force personnel during the twelve-year deployment in Afghanistan. It pivots on carefully interwoven interviews, unconstrained and uncensored, with our combat troops reflecting on their day-to-day experience of engaging with the Taliban or mentoring Afghani soldiers to take up the defence of their own country.

The surgically-precise layering of personal testimony with telling footage, some shot by the soldiers, captures the scale of the engagement. Yet it’s the unexpected poetry among the soldiers’ recitation of facts and feelings that gives the piece its heft. They are given voice as they so seldom are elsewhere, mourning what they left behind at the end of the mission and grappling with a dread some inevitably have brought back home. Subtle narration widens the search for the meaning of the campaign, and the long pre-final credits scroll of the names of the fallen concludes this sobering tale.