VietNamNet Bridge – Director Oliver Stone’s return to Vietnam in early September is not the only return to the theme of the Vietnam War by US film producers.
Films about the Vietnam War created the major line of Hollywood in the 1970s and 1980s. It was literally “Good Morning Vietnam!” – as the name of the famous film suggests – but decades have passed and this war has become the concern of world movies again.
Americans have been involved in many wars in the world but the Vietnam War is the one that has left a syndrome of sorrow in the memories of many generations.
There is no country in the world that can compare to the US in making films about war. For each war of the US, Hollywood often tells stories about that war, and in these films, the US often plays the role of the just peace maker. But films about the Vietnam War seem to be different.
After the US entered Vietnam till just before 1975, most American people didn’t know the real motivation for and the situation of this war. Hollywood was also the same for nearly 10 years.
In 1968, when the Mau Than event shook the US public, Hollywood produced a film to calm down the boiling public – “The Green Berets” – to embellish the image of US soldiers in Vietnam. Hollywood kept quiet till April 30, 1975.
In 1978, Hollywood introduced two films, “Coming Home” and “The Deer Hunter”, about tragedy in the lives of American veterans.
“Platoon” by Oliver Stone, which won four Oscars in 1986, pointed out part of the truth about the Vietnam War, opening a movement of making films about the Vietnam syndrome.
After that, many films about this theme were produced, attracting the world’s attention, including “Full Metal Jacket”, “Good Morning Vietnam!”, “Hamburger Hill”, “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Casualties of War”.
Films about war often exist for only a short period of time, but it is different for films about the Vietnam War, which existed from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.
The revenue failure of “Heaven & Earth”, produced in 1993 by Oliver Stone, who stirred the movement of making films about the Vietnam War, closed a successful age of this theme.
Now, when Vietnam and the US are getting closer and the wound of war is being healed, why is the theme of Vietnam becoming “hot” again?
The answer comes from the Iraq War, which has been burning in daily news bulletins of the world for the past five years. The involvement of the US in this war shows something similar to the image and position of the US in the Vietnam War nearly 40 years ago.
The difference is, in the age of information, war participants cannot hide anything. But anyways, war is the worst thing.
Hollywood timely raises its voice by producing films on the Iraq War but most of them haven’t attracted audience attention.
The return of US film producers to the Vietnam theme is to add one voice to the line of films on war in the world now.
Actually, the topic on Vietnam War is never exhausted and outdated because it is part of history. But the importing thing here is how to approach this old but new topic.
Before the “Quiet American” was shot in Vietnam, two big film projects were also licenced to be shot in the country, “The Other War” and “Field of Fire”.
The first tells the story about the last day of a US veteran, Frank Verchek, in Vietnam as an adviser. It is interesting that all characters in this film are still alive. But because of financial problems, this project has not been implemented yet.
The second film is based on a novel of the same name by James Webb, a current senator in the US. However, the failure in terms of revenue of “Heaven & Earth” has made investors hesitant to invest in this film.
James Webb has been calling for investment in this project for nearly 10 years. In 2002, a company named RKO agreed to produce this film, with Jamusz Kaminsky as the director. As everything was being wrapped up, the Iraq War broke out and this project was delayed.
This year, besides “Pinkville” by Oliver Stone, Director Jon Amiel came to Vietnam to survey before shooting a film named “The Fall of Saigon”.
In 2008, a $30 million project named “Long Tan” by an Australian director, Bruce Beresford, will be implemented. This film describes a battlefield in Long Tan village in Vietnam.
An overseas Vietnamese director, Quan Lelan, lost the largest opportunity in his life 15 years ago when his first film about Vietnam was cancelled at the last minute because of the failure of the “Heaven & Earth” film.
Another Vietnamese American director, Tran Anh Hung, is dreaming of making a film about the Vietnam War.
Director Luu Huynh of Vietnam is also dreaming similarly. He is considering a script about the war.
Today, Vietnamese or foreign film producers who want to make films about the Vietnam War are not trying to recall the past but to look towards the future.