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“Triage” by Danis Tanovic, Rome Film Fest final selection

October 16, 2009

source: Non Solo Cinema

Thank you Lex for the translation.

Mark (Colin Farrell) and David (Jamie Sives) are two war photographers leaving for their mission again, this time to the territories under siege in Kurdistan. Anticipating their return to Dublin, the situation becomes particularly difficult. However, Mark is alone. Appalled by the physical and psychological trauma of the experience of war, he seems to regress physically the more time passes. The weight of the secret he brings is too heavy and only the help of his wife Elena’s (Paz Vega) grandfather Joaquin (Christopher Lee), opens the door to the unspeakable truth.

Triage by Danis Tanovic (Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film with No Man’s Land) is the first film in competition at the Rome International Film Festival. From the novel of the former foreign correspondent Scott Anderson, who has followed the wars in Uganda, Beirut, Chechnya and Bosnia, the movie co-scripted by Tanovic, sinks its gaze into the horror of war seen through the eyes of stubborn and clinical photojournalist Mark.

The reports that he attains and publishes on his return from the hell of Kurdistan are centered on the practice of sorting (triage) that is used in the fields of first aid. Patients are selected according to the severity of injuries sustained in combat with tags of different colors that the doctor gives them after having made the diagnosis. Yellow if the injuries are not serious, blue if there is nothing more to do.

The director says: “Triage is a complex story.. How to survive the war, for those who have returned and for those who have not made it, trying to listen more closely to people. I love war reporters because they are different, not trying to be heroes, but instead worry about others …. “Mark is very concerned for others and reacts to the difficulties of life with them, but the powerlessness in the face of needless death in war paralyzes him, literally.

Colin Farrell fits beautifully into the shoes of a man tormented and consumed by a sense of guilt. The physical decay, the thinness and avoidance that lead Mark to end up in a wheelchair are signs that the Irish actor can embody [the role] with elegance and truth, working mainly on *absence. A note of merit goes also to the limitless Christopher Lee in the role of a cynical psychiatrist responsible for the purification of criminals after the Spanish Civil War, the only one capable of leading Mark back into a world which he is trying to escape.

*Absence: The author’s intention in using this word does not come across clearly when translated. My thought is that this refers to Farrell’s ability to convey the internal struggle of the character through all things — both dialogue and silence; physicality and stillness.

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