Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Hearts and Minds
Directed by Peter Davis, Hearts and Minds is a documentary about the Vietnam War and the controversy that surrounded it. Using newsreel footage as well as interviews with soldiers and officers, the film captures a look into a conflict that managed to divide many over what should be done and why Americans are involved in this conflict. The result is a chilling yet intense film from Peter Davis.
The film plays into the events of the Vietnam War as well as the source of the conflict that had emerge in the aftermath of World War II during the French Indochina conflict as well as the Americans involvement in that conflict. It also showcases veterans who had returned home from the war with many bearing scars physically, mentally, and emotionally with some of those being puppets for the American government like Lt. George Coker. It’s a film that captures many aspects of the war with those supporting it and those who fought in the war and came home damaged.
With the aid of researcher Brennon Jones and cinematographer Richard Pearce, director Peter Davis travels to Vietnam where he uncovers the country’s very troubled history as well as what led to America’s involvement with these conflicts. It provides some insight about the idea of American Imperialism where the U.S. government believe that Communism spreading around Southeast Asia is a threat. The reality is that Americans put in people in South Vietnam to try and control things which led to this conflict as many of the men who fought in the war come to the conclusion that they had become the bad guys. Some of which were fighter pilots as they admit to having a job to do in bombing targets but also come to the realization that many of the targets they bombed were villagers that primarily consisted of women and children which sickened them.
With the aid of editors Lynzee Klingman and Susan Martin, along with the sound work of Tom Cohen and sound editor James Nelson. Davis would use footage from films and such as it played into soldiers’ idea of what they would do as well as hope they would bring in the same kind of importance soldiers had done with World War II. Instead, many of these veterans would encounter something entirely different as some felt they had been lied to by their government while there are those from South Vietnam who are profiting from the war. It adds to something that is sickening where it plays into the idea of governments making money off of this war but unaware of how great the cost are to those that have been killed or wounded from the war.
Hearts and Minds is a riveting documentary from Peter Davis. It’s not just one of the most sobering and harrowing look into one of the most devastating conflicts of the 20th Century but also one that never should’ve happened. Especially a film that showcases the war from both sides where both of them suffered in the hands of those who cared more about power rather than humanity. In the end, Hearts and Minds is an incredible film from Peter Davis.
© thevoid99 2016
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I'll have to look out for this!
It was on TCM a few weeks ago and I managed to DVR the film as it's available right now on Criterion.
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