What would happen if a few people weren’t dragging the rest of us down?

“20 Days in Mariupol” is tough but “must see” journalism and filmmaking

I went to see the film “20 Days in Mariupol.” It has taken me over a week to write about the experience, not because I have been so busy (though I have) but mainly because I couldn’t quite work out what to say about a film that was so…
And therein lies the issue. How do I describe a film that documents a team of Associated Press journalists trapped behind the Russian lines in Mariupol, Ukraine, in the earliest days of the Russian invasion in March 2022?
What can I say about watching UNARMED civilian grandmas and grandpas, babies, pregnant women, young teens, and again, BABIES as their life is extinguished in the most violent and violating way? Watching doctors and nurses under horrific conditions try to save them. Then witnessing the raw, sheer agony of their loved ones left behind. This is not war; this is slaughter.
Watching the indisputable video evidence of war crimes as Russian tanks entered the city, lowered their barrels, and targeted civilian residential buildings, hospitals, schools, and maternity wards (all war crimes). The Russian snipers surrounding the lone hospital emergency room still functioning and wounding nurses trying to save injured civilians (war crime).
The intense helplessness and anger felt as footage of Russia’s political representatives claimed the lives we’d just seen extinguished on video were of actors, and the entire war scene was just a Hollywood movie. “Nothing to see in Mariupol, folks, just fake news, and Western propaganda.” We didn’t see what we just saw? To think Russia is head of the UN Security Council now.
There were sobs in the audience and occasional moans of agony, so visceral I had to consciously try not to join in. Some, of course, walked out, but from what I could see, they all returned after they had regained control of their emotions.
When the film ended… silence. People walked outside to be with their thoughts. I have been with mine for a week. Wondering how I can be of service to bring this suffering to light and thus to an end. I feel helpless; these words feel empty.
How do I write about a team of video journalists and one courageous policeman risking their lives to get this footage out, hoping it might change something and realizing the only way it will is if people go to see it. The filmmaker finished with the same thoughts. If his images don’t do it, NOTHING will.
So, I do not regret seeing the film, and I don’t think most people will. The United Nations delegation needs to see this film. Anyone who thinks the war’s being extended needlessly or that “both sides share responsibility” for the war needs to see this film. Every human on this planet needs to see this film.
It’s playing in select theatres now and is the best film I’ve seen in decades.  




Official blog of Robert G. Rose. Opinions are my own. Whose else would they be?

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Don’t Drag Me Down is the personal blog of Robert G. Rose, a U.S. based media veteran and entrepreneur who writes about wrongs, slights, incompetence, corporate greed and more, he observes in his everyday life.

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