Blood And Dust

Blood And Dust


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Blood And Dust is a brilliant, powerfully effective short film which follows a team of medics of the 214th Aviation Regiment in Helmand, Afghanistan. Sergeant Jordan Tyrone speaks candidly, using pragmatic language about life preservation, describing the body as "a container" for vital fluids. Their purpose is "not to fix you [...] to keep you alive."

The advances in battlefield medicine are considerable. Using tourniquets not just as a last resort, the application of advanced haemostatic - blood clotting - agents, and practical utilities for airway support.

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The film has been directed by Vaughn Smith - who also appears briefly as a talking head. He champions their efforts to "strive to save lives" no matter whose. There is "no distinction in the effort made to save any life." Still more interestingly, he draws an effective parallel using life preservation statistics for "the sustainability of battle" and the public's stomach for battle losses. The medics are effective "force multipliers". Does this make medics valid targets?

The medics' helicopters are clearly marked with red crosses on the helicopters. "Hot" - mid-battle - extractions require auxiliary suppressive fire.

We see the battlefield medics at work in handheld, single camera setups. We see Tyrone talking to gravely injured patients, calming them down and stabilising their vital signs. And when necessary, performing CPR on a lifeless body. It looks like an obscene marionette.

When weighing up the personal costs, Smith asks Tyrone, "Is it worth it?"

"Every day is worth it when you save a life."

Bravo, sir.

Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2011
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A short documentary about medical auxiliaries working to save lives on the battlefields of Helmand.
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Director: Vaughan Smith

Year: 2011

Runtime: 25 minutes

Country: US


EIFF 2011

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