Ken Burns' "Vietnam"

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September 13th, 2017 at 10:45:17 AM permalink
JimRockford
Member since: Sep 18, 2015
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Quote: odiousgambit
Comes out on Sunday 17th.

I have to wonder if I will really watch it, but I will have to at least check out how Burns gets around a problem that plagued one documentary I watched at the time [I think I am thinking about the 1974 doc "Hearts and Minds"]

Naturally, that doc was very controversial; one criticism I thought was valid and you have to wonder how to get around it. The documentary actually tried to be even-handed but came across less so, I think, and I do think the problem came from the footage that was available. The US-generated footage came from everywhere, including news organizations. These made no attempt to sugar-coat but instead wanted to show the reality of war. The war department itself released a huge amount of footage showing very graphic stuff including exploding bombs , napalm, phosphorous, etc., and showed it tearing up villages and the like. A lot of footage of suffering US soldiers and Vietnamese civilians too . Naturally, the documentary makers wanted to use all that.

When it came to footage produced by North Vietnam, though, all of that was carefully prepared propoganda. Valiant civilians and soldiers, and touching scenes of grandfatherly Ho Chi Minh. If they wanted to show it, that's all they had. Intentionally or not, this juxtaposition of images dominated the message of the documentary, actual [perhaps balanced] commentary notwithstanding.

I predict Ken Burns will have this same problem and will not be able to keep it from dominating his documentary as well. We will see.

I don't think Burns will be constrained by available footage. I've only seen a few of his documentaries, but it seems to me that the strength of his work is the story telling. The footage and still shots help convey the emotion. The interviews with with first hand participants and colorful experts tied together with well written narration are the core of the production. It feels as if the stories are being told at your kitchen table over a cup of coffee. He often keeps going back to one or two strong characters (Buck O'Neil in Baseball, Shelby Foote in The Civil War). A slow pan of a dramatic photo is just as good if not better than footage in his works, but he'll find the visuals that make it work. As you say, we'll see.
September 13th, 2017 at 11:28:56 AM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Who's narrating this. Makes a huge difference.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
September 13th, 2017 at 12:09:06 PM permalink
JimRockford
Member since: Sep 18, 2015
Threads: 1
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Quote: JimRockford
I predict it will use "Paint it Black" as background music at least once.

I looked up the soundtrack and I was wrong. Burns is too original to use Paint it Black yet again. He went with with Gimmie Shelter (as well as dozens more great selections).
September 13th, 2017 at 12:30:38 PM permalink
terapined
Member since: Aug 6, 2014
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Quote: JimRockford
I looked up the soundtrack and I was wrong. Burns is too original to use Paint it Black yet again. He went with with Gimmie Shelter (as well as dozens more great selections).

I hope they include Country Joe
Sometimes we live no particular way but our own - Grateful Dead "Eyes of the World"
September 13th, 2017 at 12:54:08 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: terapined
I hope they include Country Joe


Kent State shooting was a Vietnam protest.

No one has ever proven I am not God.
September 13th, 2017 at 1:18:18 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 122
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Now here's an interesting one.

No one has ever proven I am not God.
September 13th, 2017 at 1:21:42 PM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
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Ho Chi Minh asked the US, to help him get the French out of NV before the US decided to go the route we did.

If the US reason for going to war in Vietnam was to stop the spread of Communism, how does that square with the status today where both Vietnam and China are both not only Communist Country's, but have "most favored nation" trading status with the US?

All wars are bankers wars, "General Smedley Butler".
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
September 13th, 2017 at 1:33:54 PM permalink
Wizard
Administrator
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Quote: petroglyph
If the US reason for going to war in Vietnam was to stop the spread of Communism, how does that square with the status today where both Vietnam and China are both not only Communist Country's, but have "most favored nation" trading status with the US?


I wouldn't call either China or Vietnam today Communist countries. They both have a high degree of respect for the free market.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
September 13th, 2017 at 2:00:54 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 122
Posts: 5652
Several communist countries have maintained the trappings of communism at the political level but have modulated significantly on controlling the means of production. Hybrids of communism.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
September 13th, 2017 at 2:12:41 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 122
Posts: 5652
Several years back I had several months of seeing an occupational therapist. He had a student from China training with him. I bluntly asked her many questions about freedom in her country. She was very defensive against accusations about repression. It would ultimately end up in some response claiming China has order and you have Detroit or similar point. There was always a counterpoint, where she found some positive vs some negative to point to in the US.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
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