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Irvin's movie hated by US Army

Cannes (Reuters): Acclaimed US director Irwin Winkler did not wait for US troops to leave Iraq to make Home of the Brave, a movie that looks not only at the horror of war but also at the lives that soldiers left behind. When finished later this year the film will join a long list of films on a similar theme, including the Vietnam-era tales ''Coming, Home'' and ''Born on the Fourth of July.'' But while those films were made well after the fighting was over, Winkler has chosen to comment on the impact of the Iraq war while the conflict is still in progress.

''I felt very much that I had to tell a story that was deeper than what you see on TV,'' Winkler told Reuters after a news conference to present clips from the film. ''When you watch a story on television, or somebody getting shot in a war, you don't know who they are. So I spent time making audiences know who the characters are.''

Home of the Brave opens in a military camp south of Baghdad and introduces audiences to soldiers played by Samuel L Jackson, Curtis ''50 Cent'' Jackson and Jessica Biel, among others. The troops are ambushed during an operation, just days before they are due to go home. Life and limbs are lost, and the men and women find themselves emotionally scarred. In one early scene, the soldiers play video games, and the director is clearly making the point that war is no game.

Winkler, whose work spans decades from Rockyto Goodfellas to the recent De-Lovely, gave reporters a 40-minute glimpse of footage from Home of the Brave during the Cannes film festival. ''If we had any political statement to make, it is that everyone is injured by war,'' he told reporters. Winkler said that although the story is about US military men and women, ''Home of the Brave'' is relevant to audiences worldwide because of the Iraq war's global impact and because armed conflicts are occurring on many continents. He told Reuters the US military gave him no support in making the movie. In fact, ''they were not very favourably impressed with what we were saying,'' he said. Winkler looked away, chuckled to himself and added: ''They hated it.

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