a Film by Michael Richter
Germany | 2013 | Documentary | 80 min
The war is catching up with us. German soldiers fight in Afghanistan, they kill, they are killed and wounded. For years. For a long time, this foreign mission was passed off as a humanitarian mission. Building schools or wells was the primary goal of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. This was also the conviction of most supporters and critics of the mission and also of the soldiers who were assigned to the Hindu Kush. Many battles and deaths later, whether on our own or on the enemy side, it is clear: we are at war again. In the meantime, even the German government admits this.
Ausgedient tells the story of soldiers who come home from war and have become so ill that they can neither continue their mission nor live as they did before. Their psychological damage is so profound that they require intensive psychiatric treatment. Their injuries are not visible. But they are the consequences of a war that we have not really faced up to, that we have emotionally avoided.
In a filmic counter-movement, we portray the company of an armoured infantry regiment that is being prepared for deployment in Afghanistan. How does the Bundeswehr prepare its soldiers for the most extreme experiences of violence? From the first exercise with live ammunition to the house-to-house combat, to the farewell by the Minister of Defence and the departure in the troop carrier, we accompany this unit whose soldiers, with a few exceptions, have never been to Afghanistan. According to statistics, 20 percent of this unit will return to Germany psychologically traumatised.