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Dear America: letters homes from Vietnam is a documentary shows the plight of a nation when the American’s military troops to Vietnam with Goals that are undefined and unattainable. This Documentary’s director Bill Couturie had chosen not to use a narrator for this special reality documentary. This documentary had taken me on an emotional roller coaster ride with the ground force military images, in close combat with the enemy and the vicious jungle atmosphere. The straight shooting and the music draw on our emotions, but more importantly, the documentary became informative and increases the reality of this.
The director conveyed the message by showing how quickly the atmosphere could change in war with the impetuous cuts from calmness, where the men were searching through the jungle and villages, to extreme battle where men fighting for their lives, some of the young men having their lives cut short in this pointless battle. ” And when the firing started, it wasn’t like a sniper shot or anything. It was bullets and bombs and grenades and everything going off simultaneously. ” This dehumanized the United States soldiers by removing a sane of person or being from the active, dead and wounded.
The director quickly returned you to the realness of the war by reading an utter and attaching it to a specific picture or film footage that restored the humanity to the solider. Bill Courtie has used this particular way of camera work to zoom in and out the images, photographs. He used this method when one of the soldiers’ friend death. He zoomed in form groups photograph to his face. Whilst zooming, we can hear the solider is saying, ” I still see his face, I’ll never forget him. ”
The voices of the actors, including Robin Williams. All these actors were perfectly matched to the pictures and footage. All points in the movie, I never can distinguish whose voice was reading the letter and was too involved to try to make a distinction. At times I caught myself thinking the actual persons who wrote the letters were reading it, which tugged at my heartstrings even more. When like PFC Raymond Griffith, who was later killed, in a letter spoke of how lucky he was to not get hurt during a firefight.
For me this was the turning point of the documentary because the bodies of the American soldiers started piling up and the letters home became gruesome and lost any hope of winning the war or go home, example such as, “I hate this place” ” I’m afraid to die, the days just go, can’t sleep, dreaming to go home! ” Although some of the teams has gone back to America at the end but some white and black soldiers can’t be friends no more due to the rascism. The music also helped to convey the message throughout the documentary. The song lyrics were a reflection of the attitude and fears of the men.
It included ” wipe out” by the Sufaris, ” Are you Experienced? ” by Jimmy Hendrix and ” Beat goes on” the protest song. The lyrics are the speech of the soldier’s example such as ” Sometimes I feel lonely, no one cares for me. ” ” Take me to an airport, put me on a plane, I got no expectation to see this place again. One was a rich man, but now I’m so poor. ” From this part of lyrics, it had clearly reflected how much the soldiers want to go home. And how their lives have been affect by this meaningless war. Bill Couturie uses sequences as well to convey this important message of this.
At the beginning of the documentary, it showed Surf’s up, and the Beach Boys are singing. American kids dive into the waves and come up wet and grinning, and there’s a cooler of beer waiting under the palm trees, with the DJ saying” If the heat doesn’t kill you then a jammed weapon will? ” which make it looks like Vietnam is going to be a fun place. The opening scenes of “Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam” are so carefree, so light hearted, that it doesn’t even seem strange that most of the soldiers look exactly like the kids they are – high school graduates drafted straight into war.
On the soundtrack, we hear the voices of these soldiers, in the words they wrote home. They speak of patriotism, of confidence, of new friendships. In their letters there is a sense of wonder at this new world they have found, a world so different from the American cities and towns they left behind. And then gradually the tone of their letters begins to change. There also another important sequence at the end of the documentary.
The heartbreaking flash-forward to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. , 15 years later, and we hear Bruce Springs teen’s “Born in the USA” as one of the actress reads from a letter that the mother of a dead veteran left at the foot of the wall of names: Dear Bill, Today is Feb. 13, 1984. I came to this black wall again to see and touch your name, William R. Stocks, and as I do I wonder if anyone ever stops to realize that next to your name, on this black wall, is your mother’s heart. A heart broken 15 years ago today, when you lost your life in Vietnam.
They tell me the letters I write to you and leave here at this memorial are waking others up to the fact that there is still much pain left, after all these years, from the Vietnam War. This I know. I would rather have had you for 21 years, and all the pain that goes with losing you, than never to have had you at all. Mom There are moments here that cannot be forgotten, and most of them are due to the hard work of the filmmaker, director Bill Couturie, who has not taken just any words and any old footage, but precisely the right words to go with the images.
Couturie began with an anthology of letters written home by U. S. soldiers in Vietnam. At the end of the documentary, there is a unforgettable speech ” one thing that worries me… will people want to hear about it? Or will they want to forgot the whole thing happened? ” Which also had helped to convey this special message of this documentary ” Never forget the soldiers has involved in this meaningless War. ” Media Studies: Dear America: letters home from Vietnam Jessica Leung 10Y.