november 11 in toronto: "body of war"

On Remembrance Day in Canada (Veterans' Day in the US), a special screening of the film "Body Of War" will be held at Bloor Cinema in Toronto.

"Body Of War", a film by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue, with music by Eddie Vedder, will be shown in several cities on November 11, as well as a special broadcast on the Sundance Channel. Proceeds of screenings will go to Iraq Veterans Against the War, and the Toronto chapter of IVAW is donating its share to the War Resisters Support Campaign.

From the film website:
Body of War is an intimate and transformational feature documentary about the true face of war today. Meet Tomas Young, 25 years old, paralyzed from a bullet to his spine - wounded after serving in Iraq for less than a week.

Body of War is Tomas' coming home story as he evolves into a new person, coming to terms with his disability and finding his own unique and passionate voice against the war. The film is produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, and features two original songs by Eddie Vedder. Body of War is a naked and honest portrayal of what it's like inside the body, heart and soul of this extraordinary and heroic young man.

Body of War unfolds on two parallel tracks. On the one hand, we see Tomas evolving into a powerful voice against the war as he struggles to deal with the complexities of a paralyzed body. And on the other, we see the historic debate unfolding in the Congress about going to war in Iraq.

The film opens as Tomas and his fiance Brie prepare for their wedding. However, because of his disability, we see how the simple everyday activities for Tomas are involved and challenging. War is personal and the film takes us into the skin and bones of what it means to have no control over basic bodily functions. In many remarkable scenes, we directly experience how vulnerable and open Tomas is as he interacts with his wife, family, and friends.

I've heard this movie is excellent, and naturally I'm interested in it as a tool for truth-telling about war, and working for peace. But my involvement in disability issues lends another intense level of interest for me. I'm always a bit afraid when approaching anything portraying disability, especially spinal-cord injury, the disability I know the most about. I have no tolerance for anything maudlin or pitying, or any implication that paralysis - although obviously an enormous life-changing event - is the end of meaningful and satisfying life. So I'm looking forward to seeing the movie, but I'll also be mentally holding my breath, just a bit.

On the Body of War Toronto website, you can see a trailer, purchase advance tickets, make a donation and get more information. Tickets are $11 in advance, or $15 day-of, and I hear advance tickets are going fast.

If you're in the Toronto area, I hope to see you there. The Campaign is in desperate financial straits right now, with mounting legal bills and new court appeals on the horizon.

For other screenings of "Body of War", "Sir! No Sir!" and "Winter Soldier", and other events related to military resistance to the occupation of Iraq, see IVAW's events page.

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