Producer: Riina Sildos. Director: Ivar Heinmaa. Writer: Margit Kilumets Length: 53 min. Year: 2006. Estonian with English subtitles.
This Estonian documentary of the Afghanistan experience was an eyeopener - especially since we have seen plenty of films of Americans, who have returned to Vietnam to find closure. It was now interesting to find how the 1,112 Estonians who had been sent (conscripted into the Soviet Red Army ) to Afghanistan, where 50 Estonians had died, coped with similar situations. It was filmed in a country where 1.2 million Afghans have died — and fighting is still going on, — though there was no sign of current fighting in the documentary.
Two ex-soldiers, both conscripted by the Soviets to fight in Afghanistan ten years apart, between 1979 and 1989, returned to walk the same areas where they had fought a brutal war.
Simson, older, an artist, was interestingly more harsh in his references towards the people he fought than Leino, the tractor driver who had lost both of his legs. Leino was taken through the procedures of getting his prostheses and then managed quite well to negotiate the rough ground of his Afghan battleground. Simson, dressed in dark camouflage battledress was shown shopping for weapons in Afghanistan.
Very interesting was the discussion of the background of director and cameraman Ivar Heinmaa. He is a well experienced second generation combat cameraman. Heinmaa and writer Margit Kilumets were in Toronto for the Special Olympics. At that point he had been in and out of Chechnya (during the heavy fighting) at least twelve times. Vaado Sarapuu, who had been involved with film production in Estonia, spoke of Heinmaa's father as an experienced combat cameraman as well. Sarapuu said they were all amazed that Ivar Heinmaa has come through his assignments without a scratch.
Estdocs review: Wounds of Afghanistan