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  Bearing Witness
Year: 2005
Director: Barbara Kopple, Bob Eisenhardt
Stars: Molly Bingham, Marie Colvin, Janine DiGiovanni, Mary Walsh, May Ying Welsh
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 1 vote)
Review: This is the story of five women journalists who have chosen the dangerous and deadly job of being a war correspondent. Produced by A&E Indies, Barbara Kopple, Bob Eisenhardt and Marijana Wotten, the documentary takes the viewer behind the scenes in the war on Iraq. We learn about the tough trade chosen by these women journalists who risk their lives to get the best stories under the worst conditions.

Molly Bingham, hales from the Louisville, Kentucky newspaper family and is a photographer. At the beginning of the Iraq war, she was arrested by the Muhoborat, Saddam Hussein’s secret police, and then held for seven days in the Abu Ghraib prison. She revisits her pink colored prison cell later in the film, showing us where she counted her days with scratch marks on the wall and how the experience still haunts her today.

Sunday Times of London writer Marie Colvin, a Yale graduate from Oyster Bay, Long Island, has survived reporting stints in Sri Lanka (where she lost an eye to grenade shrapnel) and Iraq (where she discovered mass graves being unearthed by local family members) as well as two divorces. She spends her down time in London and suffers from nightmares caused by the images of darkness from her time in combat zones.

Another Times of London writer in the film is Janine DiGiovanni, who has covered conflicts in Rwanda, Chechnya, Israel and Iraq. She is married to the French journalist, Bruno Girodon, and they live in Paris with their newborn baby. Janine is so committed to her job, she was actually reporting in the Gaza Strip just 21 days before her baby was born, changing her perspective on her future assignments in war-torn locales.

CNN camerawoman, Mary Rogers, has seen the world with her CNN Cairo bureau chief, Ben Wedeman. With her cat-eye glasses and wavy blonde hair, she emulates an exterior of intellectual femininity, but is quite capable of lugging her 25-pound video camera and tripod amongst the rubble and ruins of Iraq. As she says in the film, “I like taking really good pictures.”

Another fearless videographer/documentarian is San Francisco native, May Ying Welsh, who reports for Al-Jazeera. She struggles to gain the trust of both the American soldiers in Iraq and her colleagues at the Arab news network, Al-Jazeera. Her intensity and passion for her job seems to keep her going, despite all of the pressure she faces.

Overall, this documentary is a wild ride through the lives of these fearless and intense women, who sacrifice their personal lives to get the stories of the people who are affected the most by these horrors of war. Kopple and her colleagues have done a fine job of weaving the story of these women, with some very harrowing and intense images of war. The film made its television premiere on the A&E television network on May 26th and is currently screening at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
Reviewer: Harlan Whatley

 

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