When the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, American war veterans who had served in Vietnam were especially troubled by parallels with their own experiences. No Unwounded Soldiers began in 2005 at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System hospital in West Haven, Connecticut, during a weekly drama therapy group led by drama therapist Mary Lou Lauricella. It follows a group of veterans as they explore the deep and lasting effects that war has had on them, on their families, and on their communities. The documentary also presents the personal stories of eight veterans of three wars: Frank Attruia, George LaBounty, Lewis Mungo, Jan Rilance, and Mike Steele, from the Viet Nam era; Ed Borucki and Grace Bell, who served in World War II; and Robert Timmins, who served in Iraq. This courageous group explores the universal impact of combat, showing that no matter what the war, the pain is the same. They share their emotional and psychological struggle for inner peace after war in hopes of helping others who are just starting on the path of healing. And they show that healing is indeed possible, especially through the arts.
No Unwounded Soldiers was produced, directed, filmed and edited by Rebecca L. Abbott. It was an official selection of the 2007 Vail, Colorado and Northampton, Massachusetts Film Festivals and the 2008 Gloria Film Festival in Utah and has been broadcast on Connecticut Public Television.
From Eleanor Irwin, PhD, RDT, TEP:
“This powerful and moving film depicts the activities of a Drama Therapy program in the Department of Veterans Affairs at West Haven Hospital in Connecticut. An improvisational drama group of mostly older vets gather to share stories of trauma, rage, alienation and death – stories that eventually become the basis for a gripping theatre performance. Told with powerful feeling and wisdom, the drama group participants eventually form a tight bond because, as one says, as ‘it’s almost a kind of religion.’ Sharing memories of deaths of siblings or close friends, episodes of ‘friendly fire,’ and harrowing narrow escapes – these bind them together because they know all too well about trauma, suffering, guilt, and the need for love. They know, and want others to know, just how horrible war is and how it changes people so that life is never the same. ”
Total Running Time: 59 minutes