Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ken Burns Vietnam War documentary preview at Michigan Theater Ann Arbor riveting & emotional.

The new Ken Burns documentary titled The Vietnam War was previewed at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor Wednesday night, April 20, and the film was riveting, emotional and real. The entire 18 hour documentary will be aired on PBS in the fall, but Ann Arbor was treated to a special preview Wednesday night, and to top it off, Ken Burns himself was there. Burns, who grew up in Ann Arbor, spoke to a packed Michigan Theater crowd before the movie and explained what we in the audience were about to watch on the big Michigan Theater screen. All in attendance, including myself, were fascinated by his pre movie talk and were full of anticipation for the film.

For myself, and all who attended last night's preview, The Vietnam War documentary was powerful, stirring and very emotional. As a Baby Boomer born close to the tail end of the Baby Boom generation, I was a kid during the Vietnam War, but I remember it well. In fact, the war made a tremendous impact on me and shaped the political views I have as an adult. I was too young to have been directly impacted by the war, but old enough to have been affected by it, as the war loomed in the background of my childhood. The Vietnam War officially ended when I was in junior high school, and frankly, it frightened the hell out of me. Of course, it goes without saying that my distant association with the Vietnam War does not compare to all of the soldiers and families, American and Vietnamese, who died or had friends and family members who died in that conflict, or came home and were never the same again.

The Vietnam War documentary preview captured but a fraction of the upcoming full length eighteen hour documentary that will air on TV in the fall but it was obvious through the clips shown Wednesday that The Vietnam War documentary is a studied, detailed, descriptive and accurate depiction of what it was like for American troops to fight in Vietnam, but just as importantly, the film depicts the feelings, thoughts and attitudes of those who fought in the war. The film also focuses on the family members of those soldiers who fought and died in the Vietnam War, and this is what makes the movie so interesting and genuine.

As we all know, the Vietnam War deeply divided our nation. As Burns pointed out in his pre- movie remarks, the political division in our American society that occurred during the war in the 60"s and 70's continues to run deep.

Make sure you see this important and still relevant documentary when it airs on PBS in the fall. No matter how much you already know about the Vietnam War, this documentary will be enlightening.

Jeff Brown
founder & editor
Purple Walrus Press.

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