The newly released DVD of a 2006 film, Journey from the Fall, is historic for me personally. It is the first Vietnamese film I have ever seen. It is produced and entirely directed by immigrants, or the young adults who were the children of immigrants, and the actors are thus all Vietnamese as well. I warn you, this film is hard to watch, with all the violence and gruesome conditions portrayed powerfully, but is is realism at its best. (If you think political ideology does not matter then don’t bother watching.) In spite of some professional glitches (in terms of professionalism in cinematography) the film works very well in telling a powerful narrative and thus should be required viewing for all those who think we should rush from Iraq at our earliest possible convenience. (I do believe there are similarities between Iraq and Vietnam but in Iraq our present strategy seems to now be working but we seem to lack the national will to stay the course, as we did in Vietnam too, where our leaders would not change policy in mid-stream as was done in Iraq.) The consequences of our actions, and our lack of fortitude in Vietnam, cost so many lives that the numbers are still staggering to anyone with a conscience. This film shows the real human story in a dramatic way through what I would call good "historical fiction."
The film is 2 hours and 15 minutes long and there is a second disc with a 38 minute clip on the making of the film itself that is worth watching. There is even a two-plus hour round-table discussion with cast and crew as well as cast and crew bios. The commentary here is tedious but the part on disc two on making this film is very good.
This film was an official 2006 Sundance Film Festival nominee and also the winner of sixteen international film festival awards. Americans have seen dozens of movies about Vietnam but every single one is told by Americans from our perspective. This one is by Vietnamese and reflects their experience powerfully. I found it stunning and chilling. The subtitle on the cover of the DVD says: "Vietnam 1975: The Untold Story of Their Fight for Freedom." I highly recommend this film for serious adults. I got my copy at my local library but I sure sure you can get it from Netflix and Bockbuster as well. As a child of the 1960s I needed this film to remind me of the shocking and hard realities of the era that were often overlooked by me and my hedonistic peers.
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