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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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"How to Fold a Flag": 12 times,for each of a soldier's virtues

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Beginning a new column devoted to films available via Video on Demand in all its forms.

● "How to Fold a Flag"● "We Are the Night"

To say that Javorn Drummond, Jon Powers, Michael Goss and Stuart Wilf come from different walks of life is something of an understatement. If they hadn't served together in Iraq in 2003-04, they never would've met. Now they're back home, separated by geography, uneasy peace and haunting memories of what they saw and did during a war they determined to be pointless. They might meet again someday -- or not -- but they share a bond of life, death and military service that they'll take to their graves.

These are the guys we got to know in "Gunner Palace," the superb 2005 documentary co-directed by the husband-and-wife team of Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein. They defended America as soldiers in the Army's 2/3 Field Artillery Division, never quite sure what they were killing or dying for. There was a fifth "star" in the film, Ben Colgan, who sacrificed his elite Delta Forces post to join the artillery unit in Baghdad. Then he sacrificed his life to an IED.

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