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Culture

French documentary Shell Shock tackles PTSD war wounds

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In the documentary 'Shell Shock', French soldiers contemplate the horizon at a camp in France for PTSD sufferers on the brink Nicolas Mingasson/Fipadoc 2019

War, conflict and peace are necessarily part of Fipadoc's more or less 100 documentaries, across all categories. In the national competition section, Nicolas Mingasson's Shell Shock brings unseen army wounds into the picture.

Lara is a nurse who served several months in Afghanistan with the French army and came back traumatised by the experience of trying to save the lives of French and Afghan soldiers. She is so affected that her nursing career seems over for good.

How can she and her fellow work-shop participants, all suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder reclaim "normal" lives.

French war photographer, writer and film maker Nicolas Mingasson follows them at a centre in the countryside where they spend a week of physical and psychological therapy under the supervision of an army colonel.

"In films, all the soldiers are always OK. But what these soldiers say is what war really is, " says Mingasson who reseached the lives of families of dead or wounded soldiers and found evidence of PTSD.

A classic 52-minute documentary for television, Shell Shock reveals stories of soldiers which are rarely made public. It reveals their frailty as well as their strong commitment to their country and to their families, simply by allowing them to speak.

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