Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Winning Hearts and Minds: Or, WHAM!

Hearts and Minds was released in 1974, winning the Oscar for Best Documentary in 1975 (and today's academy can't even handle Michael Moore!). It is simply the best film made about Vietnam, and American culture during the 1970s in general.

For me, the most frightening scene in this movie is its ending. There's the spectacle of actual Vietnam Veterans, the American Serviceman's Union, being taunted and beaten by pro-war forces. Even more sinister, however, is the spectacle of the "victory" parade itself. It is truly horrifying to think that this tawdry theatre can provide an emotional logic for those who inflicted such brutality on Vietnam.