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During the Vietnam War, the United States dropped 20 million gallons of chemicals onto the dense jungles of Vietnam, in order to rid the Northern Vietnamese Army of their food and cover. More than 40 years later, Chau, a teenager living in a Vietnamese care center for kids disabled by the chemical Agent Orange, battles with the reality of his dream to one day become a professional artist. With a rare disability in his arms and legs, Chau is repeatedly told his dream is not only unrealistic, but impossible. At age 17 and against all odds, Chau ventures out into the real world to see, if in fact, he can make his dream a reality.
"Chau, beyond the Lines" is a slight, but inspiring story.
If you like true stories told very well, but briefly, and you'd like to get a leg up in an Oscar pool, then this review is for you! In my continuing effort to see as many Oscar nominees as possible, I took advantage of the opportunity to see the shorts.TV theatrical presentation "Oscar Nominated Short Films 2016: Documentary" (NR, 3:00 – with 10 min. intermission). Here's a brief, spoiler-free summary and evaluation of one of those five films...
"Chau, beyond on the Lines" (34 min.) – The title character is a Vietnamese teenager who was born with deformed arms and legs, leading him to live with similarly afflicted children in an "Agent Orange Camp". Chau has a passion for art and does his best to express himself in sketches and drawings despite the limited mobility in his arms and legs. His dream is to become a successful artist and clothing designer who can support himself and live on his own. In spite of those around him discouraging him, plus changing circumstances in his life, he remains determined, works at improving his skills and seeks out new avenues to express his passion for art. This doc is an inspiring story that should help us each put our lives in perspective. It's also enlightening. Many Movie Fans will be shocked to realize that the infamous chemical that the U.S. sprayed on jungles during the Vietnam War is still affecting that country's civilian population four decades after the spraying stopped. What this film may lack in narrative heft, it more than makes up for with its effective story-telling, educational value and inspirational messages. "A-"
The other four films in the shorts.TV theatrical presentation "Oscar Nominated Short Films 2016: Documentary" are "Body Team 12" "Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah" "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" "Last Day of Freedom" We have posted our articles about each of those other films on their respective pages on this website.
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