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Michael Imperioli

The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli & Harley Flanagan talk music, film and PTSD

Michael Imperioli, perhaps better known as Chrissy from iconic prestige TV staple The Sopranos, has been on somewhat of a victory lap of late since embarking on his passion podcast project Talking Sopranos, which has made its way to the pointy end of many a podcast chart since its inception. Meanwhile, NYC hardcore punk icon Harley Flanagan is cruising high atop a wave of success kicked up from his return to the fold as Cro-Mags with the group’s first album in two decades.

Now, the two culture power-fuckers have crossed paths, drawing on their respective creative experiences to collaborate on indie film Between Wars.

Ahead of the film’s release, Imperioli and Flanagan have sat down with the film’s director, Tom Phillips, to wax philosophical about the dynamic relationship between film, music, and the reality of PTSD, drawing on their exhaustive experience and straight up wisdom in each category respectively.

Between Wars explores the often tumultuous and largely unspoken process of re-acclimatising to civilian life after war to the background hum of PTSD. The Bronx is more than a locale for the film, but essentially its own character all together, supporting Imperioli in his role as Sarge, and Flanagan who made his acting debut for the film as McManus.

Deep into the chat, Flanagan shares the relevance of the film’s premise to his own life, no doubt a strong pull factor for him to busting his acting chops for the first time.

“I never knew I had PTSD until my good friend, a Navy SEAL, was the one who was like ‘My brother, without a question, no doubt in my mind whatsoever you have PTSD. Period.’ You can not be a combat veteran and still have experienced severe trauma; in my case a lot of violence, madness on the streets, things that happened to me…Trauma is trauma.”

Imperioli, a musician as well as an actor (and writer, director, etc, etc) speaks to the powerful way in which music can be effective in curtailing the effects of trauma:

“Music is so abstract. It hits you on such a primal, vibrational level. People hold that really sacred. It’s hard to explain, but it’s much more visceral on a primal level rather than an intellectual level, and people really connect to it on an intimate, personal level.”

As well as the sit-down chat, the Between Wars roll-out has been bookended with the release of an original cut from the film’s score, an instrumental epic composed by Flanagan himself.