Dear America

Dear America - Dear America, Who Am I? Bill Couturie's...

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Dear America, Who Am I? Bill Couturie's documentary "Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam" (1987), gives a dramatized voice to the America soldiers through the content displayed in the letters. The documentary’s usage of actors, who spoke for the soldiers through their letters, demonstrates Ruby’s concept of “speaking for” and “speaking about” rather than “speaking with”. Couturie wanted to be honest yet fell short on his promise to make this documentary sincere. It was insincere because the documentary became more of a biographical film then a documentary. Couturie didn’t honor the fallen American soldiers correctly, and his perception was too “Hollywood.” In regards to Earle’s concept of “realism”, was Couturie’s perception of the soldiers emotions consistently addressed in a correct manner? Is “speaking with”, a realistic experience or not? The film started off boasting its’ Hollywood star power in the introductory credits with some well- known and established actors and actresses. The documentary forces the credibility of these well-known actors and actresses on the viewers. The first couple of scenes, I was continuously wondering about the merit behind these letters. The letters seemed to “reak” of so much dissonance, that it was difficult to believe in the sincerity of the letters content. The letters I felt were incomplete in a sense, because it was dramatized. The originality of the letters became a script and a screenplay to the actors; not actual letters. From the tone of their voices, to the imaginative sound pitches of the soldier’s accents and speech; the two realms of the dead and living seemed to disagree with reality. They were being dehumanized and appropriated. The letters seemed like they were edited, tweaked so to speak, as the letters resembled conscious and concise political thinkers, as oppose to war soldiers.
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Ruby’s concept, “speak for”, from what I interpreted is actually taking the voice of the subject to talk about the issue or the premise. Couturie with this concept found a way to “speak for” though he used his voiced to do so instead of the voice of the soldiers. The letters exposed to a mass audience fulfilled the concepts meaning. Couturie with a subjective vision, seemed to push the boundaries by trying to “speak with” and simultaneously “speak for.” Using
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course CMCL-C 392 taught by Professor Segal during the Fall '10 term at Indiana.

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Dear America - Dear America, Who Am I? Bill Couturie's...

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