peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2010 06 30 InTheYearOfThePig

In the Year of the Pig

/noise/movies | Link

This is the pick of the anti-Vietnam War docos I've seen so far. I struggle to believe it was made in 1968, while LBJ was in power and Hồ Chí Minh still alive, as the level of cultural awareness canvassed here far outstrips that of the U.S. Government as represented by McNamara, Rusk et al.

Like Hearts and Minds, many injudicious comments are made, but these are counterbalanced by erudite commentary from some people who do know South East Asia, including at least one US Senator. Perhaps most interesting is the Frenchman Paul Mus, who demonstrates a keen understanding of Vietnamese culture and aspirations. He died soon after the movie was released. Also David Halberstam puts in a suitably literate and awestruck appearance.

The iconic footage of Madam Nhu, Uncle Ho, LBJ, Bảo Đại, Ngô Đình Diệm, Curtis LeMay, ... is priceless, as are the images of the Vietnamese people during wartime, especially around Hà Nội. There is much less war porn here than in the typical doco.

Topical: The Journal of Vietnamese Studies had a forum on Paul Mus in 2009.