Documentary Review: In Country (2014)

**Media materials belong to BOND/360**
Property BOND/360

Property BOND/360


 

“One of the twelve must see documentaries this year,” says Katherine Brooks of the Huffington Post.

 

“How do you honor the soldiers when you hate the war? Our goal is to tell a provocative story about memory and coping that looks deeply at the veteran experience and complicates traditional narratives that paint soldiers as heroes,villains or victims,” says Mike Attie, Director of ‘In Country’.

 

My experience with the Vietnam war was at fourteen when the first wave of illegal immigrants arrived from Vietnam at the HK seaport (today’s Africans, Libyans to Italy). I didn’t understand why they were coming, and never asked. Well, programmed under the British colonial rules, people in Hong Kong were mostly apolitical as far as I knew. There I was innocent, naïve, and stamped with ignorance-is-bliss I never attempted to see the forest from the trees(fallen, hacked, dismembered).

In addition, media and press fed us with Vietnamese were bad people, constantly. Stories told they came in boats, HK government provided them with camps, foods, and services, yet it was reported that escapees committed crimes, rapes and other misdeeds in our communities: how the best intention was repaid with such rotten injustice.

After watching and reading more and more films, and books about the two decades of wars in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, I am finally awoken to the truth of what was going on, and so are many people. My interest really started with (I know, it’s Hollywood!) Oliver Stone‘s Born on the Fourth of July(1989).  the last two related to the Vietnam war were PBS’s American Experience My Lai Massacre (2015) and Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now(1979). 

In Country is a documentary by Mike Attie and Magaret O’Hara, about an annual re-enactment of the Vietnam war in farm country Oregon. The men of Delta 2/5(R) includes a south Vietnamese solider who fought alongside American’s in the 70’s.

Unlike groups that also run a weekend event of re-enactment of the Civil War, where most people act their parts randomly chosen, in fact, none of them are old enough to be in the actual War; Delta 2/5(R) is a group of war veterans, and a few non-veterans, who comes together on a weekend to re-live, in the guise of re-enactment, traumatic events they physically had gone through in Vietnam, Iraq, or the Gulf. Why do they do that? is the raison-être at the core of this well presented documentary: their “nebulous” existence.

Medics can dress physical wounds, and medical centre will patch soldiers up send them home, are the veterans cured? Physically, yes, but what about their mental state? I don’t think there is a definitive answer yet. As one of the men says, “a swift of bug juice will bring all the memories back.”: PTSD.

WATCH…purely in the eyes of the veterans, and gratefully no “experts” to over-analyze or madly label their conditions.

Now available at iTunes Canada.

 

 

 

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