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The final movie in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy follows the true story of a Vietnamese village girl who survives a life of suffering and hardship during and after the Vietnam war. As a freedom fighter, a hustler, young mother, a sometime prostitute, and the wife of a US. marine, the girl's relationships with men suggests an analogy of Vietnam as Woman and the U.S. as Man. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
I'm an American who was born in 1970 towards the end of the Vietnam War and I know very little about it *first-hand*. Most of what I know is from school and the media -- the men in my family who were there just don't talk about it. My wife and my closest friend for the past 9 years was born in Danang, (central) Vietnam, in 1969 and remembers some personal experiences as a child at the end of the war and after until she escaped without her family in 1982 to Hong Kong.
I've *been* to Vietnam including the areas where this movie takes place. This movie very accurately expresses a common view of the war by many Vietnamese people of the era -- that when a civil war like this occurs around you and your home with both sides there day and night your concept of right and wrong can easily change. (or heaven & earth "change places" as they put it in the movie)
If you can possibly get the DVD, you can see deleted scenes including an "alternate/extended" beginning to the movie. It was actually a 30 minute clip that was cut down to be the first 5 minutes of the released movie. It's very interesting because it illustrates many basic parts of Vietnamese life (mainly rural life) as it has been for hundreds or thousands of years.
Yes, this movie contrasts pre-war, war, and post-war life for the Vietnamese (for the ones who stayed there and also for Viet Kieu or overseas Vietnamese like my wife) sometimes in a ridiculously extreme way. Even though life was "idyllic" before the war and horrible during and after, the Vietnamese have fought for literally thousands of years to retain their national identity and independence not just against Americans but also the French, Japanese, and Chinese to name a few.
If you've been moved by other Vietnam War movies, but haven't seen this one then you have only seen the story told from our viewpoint, which is absolutely vain. If you haven't, you must see this movie for their view of the "American" war. Hopefully it will inspire you as it did me to learn more about the Vietnamese people and their long, proud history spanning thousands of years.
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