A documentary on the war in South Vietnam shot entirely on location. There is no narration and no use of archive footage. The participants speak for themselves. The filmmakers spend time ... See full summary »


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A documentary on the war in South Vietnam shot entirely on location. There is no narration and no use of archive footage. The participants speak for themselves. The filmmakers spend time with units from many services: army, tanks, marines, ARVN, air cavalry. They accompany an air force napalm and strafing attack on a Viet Cong bunker complex. There are many scenes both of Saigon streets and of peasant village life. Soldiers speak of their experiences and their mission to fight Communism in Vietnam. One American informant says that the Vietnamese peasant is not interested in ideology, but in social justice, a piece of land, fair taxation, and to be left alone. Some interviews are used as voice-over. Participants, American and Vietnamese, are very natural, with little or no posturing for the camera. There are scenes of dead Viet Cong, and one showing a VC suspect being drowned to aid interrogation. Written by David Badger

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vietnam | army | torture | See All (3) »


Documentary | War





Release Date:

5 December 1965 (Canada)  »

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Privileged Glimpse Into Vietnam War.
16 November 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The Mills of the Gods: Viet Nam is an anti-war oriented documentary made during the Vietnam war. It was shot entirely on location by female director Beryl Fox, for the Canadian television station CBC. And it has since become one of few timeless accounts of this extremely controversial war (alongside films like Year of the Pig).

Fox and her crew traveled to Vietnam themselves, where they objectively witnessed, recorded and documented the things they saw.

The film does not use archival footage (it IS archival footage) or narration. All the dialogue comes directly from the mouths of the soldiers, less a few questions you hear Ms. Fox asking the men.

While clearly an early example of "embedded reporting", the film takes a very middle-of-the-road approach. The soldiers interviewed for the film- some conscripts, others volunteers- convey a diversity of perspectives(that you will probably never hear again, from an army made entirely of volunteers). Though many have gone willingly- to snuff out Communism- others are critical of the role they are playing and about the war in general.

Some discuss how they would rather be home. Some discuss their duty to protect their homeland and future generations. Others, however, reflect on the situation they've been thrown into: the nice people they've met; their antagonism toward killing; questioning why they are even there.

It's quite evident that Fox and her crew immersed themselves in the entire Vietnam experience. Much of the footage focuses on what another commentator has termed "the banalities of war": hanging out with your friends; enjoying the nightlife; meeting women; lounging around when not fighting. But they also go out into the field with the men: on patrols; on fly-alongs during napalm raids; a short stint with a Northern Vietnamese unit; and even into the forests to witness the aftermath of aerial warfare.

While I did interpret the whole film to exhibit an anti-war angle, the way it is compiled and fashioned really allows you to judge the images for yourself (depending on what perspective you are coming from). Though, with that being said, it does seem clear (to me, at least) that Fox was critical of the war. And it does show through with the tone and nature of her questions.

This is a very interesting and informative documentary that offers a privileged glimpse into the Vietnam war, along with the diverse mentality of those who were sent to fight it. Certainly a Canadian Classic of it's kind.

7 out of 10.

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