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This film recounts the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the Vietnam War using archival news footage as well as its own film and interviews. A key theme is how attitudes of American racism and self-righteous militarism helped create and prolong this bloody conflict. The film also endeavors to give voice to the Vietnamese people themselves as to how the war has affected them and their reasons why they fight the United States and other western powers while showing the basic humanity of the people that US propaganda tried to dismiss. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
This is to the Vietnam War as Bowling for Columbine is to Violence in America
Peter Davis' Hearts and Minds does it's best to try and get both sides of the issue on America's military involvement in Vietnam, and like Bowling for Columbine the film can be accessible to an audience on each side of the coin (though with this film Davis isn't in front of the camera at all). This is perfectly filmed in the end credits sequence in which a march is being held for Vietnam veterans while the protesters line the adjacent streets. What makes the film all the powerful is that there isn't a bias going on to either side- while one scene will show a Vietnamese civilian being interviewed about how the devastation from the bombs have ruined his family and home, another will show prisoner of war George Coker explaining things to American children. In the end what gets Hearts and Minds to the level of great documentary film-making is that all of the footage of old speeches and old military movies, and all the interviews with various political figures and Vietnamese personnel, all add up to delivering an objective stance for the viewer. The facts of which are presented as such: America went into Vietnam, left their mark, and while America had two sides to the issue so did the Vietnamese, and that's what made the whole deal one of the most controversial topics of the 20th century. Overall, this is an intelligent and compassionate look at the effects of War in general. A+
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