"The Corporal's Diary" is a poignant look at the Iraq war
"The Corporal's Diary": This locally produced documentary is a moving portrait of Bellingham native Jonathan Santos, a U.S. Army corporal killed in Iraq 38 days after his deployment.
"The Corporal's Diary," with Jonathan Santos, Doris Kent, Matthew Drake, Jared Santos. Written and directed by Patricia Boiko and Laurel Spellman Smith. 60 minutes. Not rated, for mature audiences. Grand Illusion.
Boiko and Kent will be present at various screenings for post-film Q&As (206-523-3935).
Produced in Seattle, "The Corporal's Diary" is a moving documentary about a young Bellingham native, U.S. Army Cpl. Jonathan Santos, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq 38 days after his deployment.
Co-directed by local filmmakers Patricia Boiko and Laurel Spellman Smith, "The Corporal's Diary" has a genuinely charismatic subject in Santos, who died at 22. Wry, focused, professional but honest about his emotions in the war-torn nation (he was in Iraq in 2004), Santos kept both a written and video diary of his experiences.
The content of each journal is so entertaining and compelling that, if one didn't know better, a viewer might assume "The Corporal's Diary" was yet another faux documentary about the war told from the perspective of a fictional serviceman.
Santos had already been in the service several years, including a stint in Haiti, before going to Iraq. It's no wonder his voice — captured on video and reflected in written excerpts read aloud by his brother Jared — is so mature. He was also quite literate and a voracious reader. Yet his self-deprecating humor cuts against self-seriousness.
Santos' mother, Doris Kent, is a gentle and healing presence who reaches out to the mother of Santos' friend Matthew Drake, a brain-damaged survivor of the blast that killed Santos. The bridge between the two families is shot with sensitivity and gives the film a sense of profound hopefulness.
Special to The Seattle Times
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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