Sunday, October 8, 2017

war torn interiors

PBS just aired Ken Burns' film "The Vietnam War" - a ten-part, 18-hour documentary series co-directed with Lynn Novick.

Featuring testimony from nearly 100 witnesses in an immersive 360-degree narrative telling the epic story of the Vietnam War in all its heart breaking folly.

As a freshly enrolled college student in the mid-70s we had the double whammy of the war abroad and the Marcos declared martial law back home in the Philippines.

The closest I've come to the Vietnam war was hanging out with veterans who came to study at our state university.

Made even more surreal by the local filming of Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" taking over our lives for a few years. Many of my close friends were hired to work on it as actors, staff and crew.

Working on these productions was like being backstage for the weekly episodes of M*A*S*H. Building and destroying in senseless abandon at a scale and budget that was utterly stupefying.

Years later, working in corporate sales, I met a younger Oliver Stone of the film "Platoon". He came to inspect his suite at our five star hotel.

I remember his anxious new wife trying to quiet their fretting baby at her hip. I was liaison between the hotel and the film's VIPs and stellar cast. Some of whom would role play like savages out in the sticks as they filmed and forget to dial it back when they returned to the hotel and civilization.

My favorite film about the Vietnam War will always be "Good Morning Vietnam" starring Robin Williams who captured that wacky wild world with shocking  and real vulnerability.

The thing I loved the most from the period was the music it gave birth to. Around the world we were buoyed by the uplifting sounds healing our hurt and pacifying the wounded warrior in all of us.

It was the only way we could make any sense out of the farce and folly surrounding us.

Decades later much has come to light and even more remains unresolved and tragic. I pray that with this latest retelling of a decades old tale, the Vietnam veterans, villains, and victims can all have some peaceful closure.

May we all learn from this and save our future generations.

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