Ken Burns' new documentary: The Vietnam War

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by riverclown, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Montrose, CO
    And the song "Darkness, Darkness," written by Jesse Colin Young and performed so beautifully by the Youngbloods, would have been more than appropriate, since Jesse said he wrote to capture the "darkness" American soldiers fought in in Vietnam.
  2. spindly

    spindly Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    He also creates a tremendous amount of original content (interviews, interstitial footage, unearthed documents and film), spent ten years tracking down sources all over the world, and is not asking anyone to "trust" him.

    I found his conversation on the Marc Maron podcast interesting.

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  3. PonceDeLeroy

    PonceDeLeroy Forum Resident

    That and Marvin Gaye, What's Going On?
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  4. spindly

    spindly Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    That conversation with Nixon was astounding (as was the fairly recent revelation of candidate Nixon's contact with South Vietnam before the '68 election). More amazing is watching all these presidents lie so calmly in front of the press, reporters, and the public.
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  5. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Victoria, Canada
    There are Ken Burns documentaries I find awesome-brilliant-ace-fab and had to buy on DVD... Empire Of The Air and Unforgivable Blackness, while others are just alright with me, like Prohibition and The Dust Bowl. This Vietnam one is as much Lynn Novick's as his I think.
  6. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    There was a bit of back and forth about Vietnam strategy between the campaigns prior to the election. Nixon first agreed with LBJ about ceasing the bombing campaign. Nixon later criticized Johnson's war strategy prior to the election. Nixon generally presented a better grasp of Vietnam with many voters due to the wisdom he gained from running logistical nuts and bolts within South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command during WWII. Nixon had the "decorated veteran" advantage over Humphrey. Both LBJ and Nixon served in the Pacific theater during WWII, whereas Humphrey served stateside due to his physical conditions. To some voters, Humphrey would be the odd man out in such a comparison of the three as far as war experience. Humphrey had to be careful in how he responded to Nixon, as he didn't have the same kind of experience as Nixon.

    In October 1968, Nixon broached the topic of the North moving supplies into the South. So, he was taking an active approach to discussing Vietnam with voters rather than just reacting to the LBJ administration.

    Voters wouldn't necessarily treat the act of the campaign communicating with an ally as a sin. Voters understood that a politician with Senate and Vice Presidential experience engage in communications with other nations as part of their jobs. If Nixon lacked that experience, voters might have held such communications against him. Voters, though, were already familiar with Nixon in a world leader role as Senator and Vice President.

    As far as voters holding the revelation of any communication between the campaign and South Vietnam against Nixon if it were to become public, that isn't so clear. The U. S. Government has never prosecuted anyone for violating the Logan Act, so there wasn't a precedent or stigma attached to violating it. Many voters viewed South Vietnam as our ally. So, the revelation of communicating with them wouldn't have resulted in a net loss of votes to Nixon.
  7. White_Noise

    White_Noise Forum Resident

    I watched this series with my Dad. He was drafted in the war - I was born 15 years after its end.

    From a purely critical point of view, I find the sound engineering and editing (particularly episode 8) to be the finest of any documentary I've watched. The people selected to be interviewed couldn't have possibly be better chosen. This stands with The Civil War as Ken Burn's best work.

    Like the Civil War, this series will renew the conversation on a war that has forever changed our national identity and still divides the country to this day. It asks questions that it does not portend to answer. This country sacrificed 50,000 American teenagers to poison a country which struggled on both sides for the same goal. It used the deaths of those children to cement a cultural divide based on fear and desperation, in which parents were taught to fear their children, and when some of the children returned home from combat as men they were again abandoned and shunned into silence out of guilt.

    I think in the end that this film fulfills its mission statement; to contribute towards the healing of the country by renewing a long abandoned conversation across generations and across political ideology. Since first visiting it as a child, I still think the wall is most important monument in Washington. Unassuming from a distance, it envelopes the observer on both sides. As you're crushed under the weight of the names you reach out to touch them, and as you run your fingers over the names of strangers and think of their families, the literal self-reflection of your face stares back from the black granite. Should you avert your gaze from the sea of names and the reflection of your character, you can only look down at the wreaths, look up toward heaven, or allow the sloping landscape to guide your view to the Washington Monument.

    I don't know if the monument will really save lives. I don't know. I do think it stands as the most honest, painful, and unanswered question ever posed in the entire city. In every aspect of its design it allows no easy answer, no trite conciliation, no empty promise. Once you face the wall, the only certainty is that you can never walk away from it.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  8. 4xoddic

    4xoddic Forum Resident

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  9. soundQman

    soundQman Forum Resident

    Arlington, VA, USA
    That wall monument is an absolute masterpiece of design, reflection, dynamic psychological interaction with mourners and observers, and multifaceted deep meaning. The more I think about it the more I am amazed at its fitness and perfection as a memorial. How could such a young person (the student designer), not having experienced the war directly, have tapped so strongly into the zeitgeist? But maybe it took a certain distance to see so many aspects at once and in a kind of synergistic way. Astounding, and I like the way you articulated the experience of looking at it.
  10. riknbkr330

    riknbkr330 Forum Resident

    The big song for me, and it is a deep cut, is the Byrd's "Draft Morning". Prior to this documentary, every time I would hear that song my throat would well up, and my eyes would start to tear. It such a vivid encapsulation of those soldiers daily lives, captured in a three minute song.
    With that said, I think the song choices used in the documentary were very, very appropriate.
  11. RogerB

    RogerB Forum Resident

    Overall an incredible soundtrack! The most glaring omission for me is Fortunate Son.

    I'm not sure there's a more powerful anti war song than Gimme Shelter! It was chilling in episode 9.

    War...Children...It's just a shot away.........
  12. lobo

    lobo Music has always been a matter of Energy to me...

    "Sky Pilot" of The Animals isn't on it?
  13. PonceDeLeroy

    PonceDeLeroy Forum Resident

    Just wondering about some of the language that has fallen out of use since the war. I know I don't hear "escalate" and "de-escalate" so much anymore. Other changes in the language besides the typical far out and groovy! Military terms? Detente's one.
  14. jamesmaya

    jamesmaya Forum Resident

    Mudwest, CA
    Did the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg make it into the documentary?
  15. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Canton, NY, USA
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  16. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Canton, NY, USA
    I could not agree more. That segment of the final episode really surprised me, and opened up so many more questions. I'll try to do some research on my own, but I felt like we needed several more episodes on what continued to happen in the region.
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  17. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    the entire documentary was excellent IMHO.

    i could see a high school teacher or even a college professor designing a whole semester course around it.
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  18. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    New England
    If this is going to turn into political discussion, like the last four deleted posts, we'll just lock 'er up.
  19. Rubber65

    Rubber65 Forum Resident

    Well my wife and I just finished the whole series. Wow. Absolutely amazing. Learned quite a bit. Music was spot on, encapsulating what was going on at the time. The only thing that I would have liked to have to seen are interviews with ex French politicians and or ex French military who were actually in country pre-American involvement. I'm French and of French decent. My French family line goes all the way back to Western France. I felt ashamed and appalled at how the French treated all of the Vietnamese population, like second rate sub humans to do with as they pleased. The French were so arrogant thinking that things would resume like it was before the second world war. Charles de Gaulle was arrogant, threatening the Americans "the General had said that he had an expeditionary force ready go go to Indochina whose departure was prevented by the American refusal of transport, and that “if you are against us in Indochina” this would cause “terrific disappointment” in France, which could drive her into the Soviet orbit. “We do not want to become communist … but I hope you do not push us into it.” . De Gaulle had a great dislike for the Americans yet it was France who specifically asked the Americans to intervene. Hell the Americans were picking up the tab for French forces to fight and contributed military advisers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2017
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  20. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Anthony Bourdain recently had an episode (filmed in 2015 though) where he traveled to Vietnam, specifically the old provincial city of Hue, and talks with locals about the wars legacy - while eating yummy sounding dishes of course.

    One of the highlights I found interesting - from the end of the series - was the North Vietnamese army veteran talking about the decade that followed, with Stalinist socialism imposed in order to get Soviet support, and the resultant starvation of people. God as if the people hadn't had enough hardship. He goes on to say that it was the veterans - many of them farmers originally, who finally forced the government to reform to a more market based economy.
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  21. Jose Jones

    Jose Jones Outstanding Forum Member

    Detroit, Michigan
    Bob Seger "2+2=?"

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  22. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    Is it possible to watch this from the start by now?
  23. Yes, get the PBS Anywhere app for your smart TV or mobile device and you can watch all the episodes in any order you like.
  24. beercanchicken

    beercanchicken Legendary Stickman

    This is how I watched it. They also have an "Explicit Version" of every episode.

    **The last episode was particularly painful to watch
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  25. Yeah, I didn't notice that until I got to the last 3 episodes....that's when I promptly started watching them "explicit" :angel:.

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