Armadillo Showing at FilmBar this Week

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Filmmaker Janus Metz's documentary, Armadillo, is about as raw as they come.

Metz and cameraman Lars Skree spent six months following a group of Danish soldiers working at an army base (Armadillo) in the Afghan province of Helmland.

The soldiers patrol an area where Taliban forces are often less than a kilometer away. Footage includes bombings, shootouts, injuries, and in some cases, deaths. But perhaps even more riveting than the war scenes is the footage of soldiers trying to have fun in their off time, and trying to come to grips with everything that's happening around them.

Armadillo will be showing at the FilmBar beginning this week, and suffice to say, it's not your typical indie flick or action movie.

This is the grit of real life in wartime, and Metz and Skree were there every step of filming -- even during an intense shootout between Danish soldiers and the Taliban that wounded two Danes and killed five members of the Taliban. The camera's so close you can see dust and shrapnel flying everywhere through the sound of rapid-machine gun fire and soldiers shouting at each other.

That shootout scene caused controversy in Denmark regarding the behavior of Danish soldiers. What the camera captures of the day is the Danes' attempt to ambush the Taliban. The two opposing forces end up right next to each other in a wooded area, separated only by a ditch. A Danish soldier lobs a grenade into the ditch, and then two soldiers commence firing dozens and dozens of rounds into the ditch and the bodies of Taliban fighters. Reports that they celebrated and laughed during the debriefing helped sparked the controversy.

Indeed, the documentary does show the Danish soldiers smiling and laughing while they recount the ambush, but it's impossible for anyone who wasn't there to understand their elation. They're constantly being shot at, their fellow soldiers are being wounded and killed, and at the end of the day, they're still alive with all limbs intact. That's got to be some cause for elation, even if the men must wrestle with what they had to do to survive.

And that's where the heart of Armadillo really lies -- in the stories of the soldiers, and how the war is changing them. A mortar spotter laments the accidental killing of a little girl, two soldiers debate whether or not they should feel bad for killing enemy forces, and the youngest and newest member of the group goes from being gung-ho about "seeing some action" to speaking hardly a word by the end of his journey. Interspersed throughout are interviews and footags of his concerned parents -- his mom, in particular, cries every time he calls.

This film should be enlightening for any fans of documentary film making, and anyone who'd like to see a window into the harsh scenes of war. Check out the trailer below (NSFW).

Armadillo will be showing Thursday, August 11 through Wednesday, August 24 at the FilmBar, 815 N. Second Street. Call 602-595-9187 or visit thefilmbarphx.com for ticket prices and show times.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.