my lai - Movie Reviews 909 basic buman rigbts. Families are...

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Movie Reviews 909 basic buman rigbts. Families are torn asunder, marriages are miserable, husbands and wives murder eacb otber. The Studio One Anthology, in otbers words, broadcasts tbe complexity oF tbe decade—tbe sbadows tbat accompanied tbe sunshine oF sbows sucb as Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. Americans were buying more appli- ances in tbe 1950s tban ever beFore, but wbat dark and terrible domestic and political secrets were they storing in tbe back oF tbose cavern- ous Westingbouse reFrigerators? Katby M. Newman Carne^e Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania My Lai. Dir. and prod, by Barak Good- man. Ark Media For the American Experi- ence, 2010. 80 mins. (http://www.pbs.org /wgbb/americanexperience/films/mylai/) "To bring a case like tbis, given its poten- tial magnitude, it bad to be solid. It bad to be very strong. It had to be believable. And it bad to make believable an event which no- body would ever want to believe." Thus re- flects Aubrey Daniel III, who as a young army captain served as tbe prosecutor charged witb making tbe case against Lt. William Calley. But as Barak Goodman's documentary sug- gests, tbe difficulty did not lie in persuad- ing Americans tbat bundreds oF Vietnamese peasants—women, children, old men—had been killed by soldiers oF Cbarlie Company in Quang Ngai province on Marcb 16, 1968. The evidence was bard to dispute. Ratber, tbe problem lay in convincing Americans that tbis was indeed a massacre and Calley a murderer. Four decades later, consensus over tbe mean- ing oF this atrocity remains lacking: a point evidenced botb in and by Goodman's film. Witb no autborial commentary or explic- itly enunciated point oFview, My Lai proceeds in a spirit oF ecumenical empatby, staging a drama in tbree acts: "Tbe tragedy. The cov- erup. The aFtermatb," as tbe PBS press release puts it. Veterans oF Cbarlie Company domi- nate its eigbty-minute running time, sbaring. not only tbeir recollections but also snapsbots and ciné Footage taken during tbeir tours. Tbese Faded color images provide a striking counterpoint to Ronald Haeberle's iconic stills and tbe grainy newscasts employed to con- jure tbe events oF Marcb 16 and tbeir belat- ed public exposure. Depicting young men at play, Frolickiiig in tbe sea, backing at banana Fronds during training in Hawaii, and at work, picking tbeir way on patrol tbrougb rice pad- dies, banding out candy to grinning Vietnam- ese inFants, tbis unFamiliar visual cache illus- trates a key tbeme oF act 1 : tbe bewildering chameleon nature oF this alien terrain. It is a landscape at once lush and treacberous, a para- dise playground and a letbal minefield: a zone oF indeterminacy known as "Pinkville," aFter tbe sbimmering puce in which tbe province was sbaded on U.S. military maps. "The col- or pink took on associations For us tbat went way beyond anytbing you'll find on some color chart," notes the writer Tim O'Brien, during a fleeting appearance. "It meant tbe prospect oFdeatb." IF tbe countryside quickly came to appear
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This note was uploaded on 09/25/2011 for the course ENG 1 taught by Professor Lynch during the Spring '09 term at Santa Monica.

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my lai - Movie Reviews 909 basic buman rigbts. Families are...

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