Independent Lens explores war’s reality April 3-4

The Oscar-nominated documentary “Hell and Back Again,” which tells parallel stories of a Marine at war and the same Marine in recovery at home, is the April feature in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Community Cinema series.

This intensely emotional film, directed by Danfung Dennis and running approximately 90 minutes, will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, and at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, in the Arts Center Theatre. Screenings are free and open to the public.

“Hell and Back Again” follows Sgt. Nathan Harris and the U.S. Marines Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, as they fight a ghostlike enemy in a southern Afghanistan Taliban stronghold. Wounded in battle, Harris returns to North Carolina and his devoted wife to fight pain, addiction and the terrifying normalcy of life at home.

The two stories of this 25-year-old soldier’s life intertwine to communicate both the extraordinary drama of war and the no less shocking experience of returning home, as a whole generation of Marines struggles to find an identity in a country that prefers to be indifferent.

Following the April 3 screening, Dr. Christopher D. Moore, Lakeland College associate professor of sociology, will facilitate a discussion of the film. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Moore’s service included work as a domestic violence crisis representative from the Criminal Investigations Division in Jacksonville, N.C.

Charlene Cobb, Sheboygan County Veterans Service officer, will join Moore on April 3 and lead the post-film discussion April 4. Cobb assists veterans and their families in their dealings with federal and state agencies.

Also on hand for the Tuesday discussion will be Todd Richter, an Iraq war veteran with extensive knowledge of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Dr. Edmund Dy, a Sheboygan psychiatrist, will be present at both screenings to assist audience members experiencing difficulties coping with the content of the film.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is located at 608 New York Ave., Sheboygan. Call 920-458-6144 or visit for more information. Community Cinema is a monthly series showcasing documentary films later shown on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens.

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