Hearts and Minds (1974) (English sub) (Viet sub) (Won Oscar for Best Documentary)
Director: Peter Davis
Stars: Tin Chan, Chau Diem, Ngo Dinh Diem
This film recounts the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the Vietnam War using archival news footage as well as its own film and interviews. A key theme is how attitudes of American racism and self-righteous militarism helped create and prolong this bloody conflict. The film also endeavors to give voice to the Vietnamese people themselves as to how the war has affected them and their reasons why they fight the United States and other western powers while showing the basic humanity of the people that US propaganda tried to dismiss.
Peter Davis created one of the most moving accounts of the Vietnam War and the attitudes at home when he produced “Hearts and Minds”.
The film looks unflinchingly at the nature of power and horrible consequences of war. It is very much a pro-peace film, but uses the people who were there to speak for themselves. It also seeks to probe deeper underneath the American psyche of the times and evolves into a historical document about the violent social rupture that happened between the fifties and the sixties.
In many ways, it feels like a punch in the gut to watch the film. So many ideologies are laid bear….so many were false or misleading.
In the end, the film leaves you thinking about the price of war – and who is given the task to bear that price.