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The Loss of the Body

Directed by Marc Nadal
Documentary Feature
Russian Federation | 66 min | 2019

“The loss of the body” reflects the physical and psychological struggle that multiple sclerosis patients suffer daily. Accept the disease, importance to physical exercise and change step by step.

The initial seeds of this film are more than a decade old. In 2007 we were on assignment for GQ Magazine in Iraq, embedded with 101st Airborne Division in the “Triangle of Death.” We stayed in touch with some of those soldiers over the following years, as we all grew up, left the Middle East, and tried to figure out what it meant to come home when we were no longer the same people we had been.

Their reflections often slipped into a complicated nostalgia for Iraq, a longing muddled with anger and loss. Combat was hard, but in some ways, homecoming was harder. PTSD and physical traumas were the obvious difficulties, but there was also the challenge of readjusting to a civilian life that would always seem mundane and directionless compared to the razor-sharp singularity of life in a war zone. As one of the officers put it, “Odysseus is okay as long as he never sets foot in Ithaca. But what happens when he comes home?”

Our own experience — as journalists, photographers, and filmmakers — was never that of soldiers, but we could empathize with what it means to have been away for a long time, to have seen violence, to have learned a new cynicism and hardness but also a sense of purpose. In those late-night talks, we kept coming back to the idea of homecoming — as a process that lasts years rather than months, as a liminal space one inhabits indefinitely, as a simultaneous, overlapping yearning and anger and guilt.

To tell that story, we turned to medics, because theirs is in some ways the most extreme experience, both of war and of homecoming. They see the very worst side of conflict. Their world is populated by the wounded, the dying, and the dead. They never get to look away. But they also save lives, and their importance — their sense of meaning and purpose — is unmatched.

Through IF YOU CAN EVER GET BACK we sought to tell this harder, more complicated story of the Iraq war, honoring the complexity of our subjects, who defy the comfortable stereotypes of veterans as heroes or victims. We wanted to offer veterans an honest depiction of their experiences, and to challenge those outside of war and its effects to reconsider their assumptions. The result is a subtle, intimate portrait of three veterans’ trauma, pain, and coping. Their staggering candor challenges the polite public narratives of America’s post-9/11 wars and defies the usual postures of toughness soldiers mostly muster for one another. We offer no easy answers, only an insistence that we must reckon with the ongoing consequences of our most recent and ongoing wars. These are age-old, essential human questions — what it means to kill, the value of a life, the cost of war — with urgent implications today.

The Loss of the Body - Poster

The Loss of the Body - Marc NadalMarc Nadal

MARC NADAL (Barcelona, SPAIN, 1989) is a film director and screenwriter. He participates in international festivals obtaining more than 600 Official Sections and 39 Awards of Direction, Photography and Screenplay with short films such as “El espejo humano”, “Ciudadanos”, “La condena” and “Ante la araña.” In 2012 he obtained the Diploma in Cinematographic Direction at the Bande à Part Film School. In 2014, he began the Degree in Cinematographic Direction at Escac, School of Cinema and Audiovisuals of Catalonia.

Film Information

Director:  Marc Nadal
Country: Russian Federation
Year: 2019
Language: Russian
Runtime: 66 min
Rated: PG


Writer: Marc Nadal
Marc Nadal
Cinematography: Marc Nadal
Editor:Marc Nadal

Connect With This Film

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival