The Bang Bang Club, a movie documenting the true story of four combat photographers who risked their lives in violent post-apartheid South Africa, opens today, the same week that photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros died in conflict in Libya. Based on the book of the same title by Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, it stars Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman, and Taylor Kitsch. At the Tribeca Film Festival-Cinema Society premiere on Thursday, director Steven Silver called the Libyan killings “a sad commentary on the deterioration of journalists as a protected community in war zones.” “I think if we’d released the film a month from now or six months from now, there’s a reasonably good chance that there would have been another casualty, another journalist whose either injury or death would be casting a shadow over the film,” Silver added.
“It’s absolutely crazy timing,” said Phillippe, who plays photojournalist Marinovich in the movie. “And it’s devastating, obviously, but there’s loss of life there on a daily basis, [people who] don’t happen to be renowned photojournalists,” Phillippe added, thoughtfully. “Not to diminish their deaths, but it’s just, like, we have to keep an awareness that they’re not the only people there who have suffered.” The actor thinks perhaps the timing of the movie’s release will encourage people to take a deeper look at such casualties. “This year you’ve seen it a lot; there was the female reporter in Egypt, and the co-author of this book, Joao Silva, lost his legs in Afghanistan in November,” he told Daily Intel. “It’s like, these people put themselves in situations that are mind-blowingly risky, and I think it’s interesting to take note of that, at the very least.”