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Can a film change the world?

By Autumn Cadre - Posted on 09 October 2008

I believe it can, as a matter of fact I believe that I have created a film that will change the world in Vietnam: American Holocaust. I took as my example another work of the creative arts that certainly changed the world: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

In the mid-19th century the most critical question facing the United States was undoubtedly the contradiction between the continued development of a democratic republic and slavery. In writing a popular novel that put the institution of slavery on public display in all its ugliness, Harriet Beecher Stowe played a very important role in bringing the whole matter to a head. She used the most advanced means of mass communication of her day, the printing press, and what was probably it’s most advance long form artistic method, the novel, to convert the widely shared knowledge that slavery was wrong into mutual knowledge that slavery was wrong. That is why when Abraham Lincoln met her in 1862 he said "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!"

Today the most advance means of mass communication is film. The most advanced methods of mass distribution are the Internet, DVDs and screenings. So I am of the opinion that if you want to have the kind of impact that she had 150 years ago today, you wouldn’t write a book, you’d make a movie. I am also of the opinion that the most critical question facing the United States in the beginning of the 21st century is the contradiction between democratic republic and empire, and furthermore, the ugliest face of our country’s struggle to maintain an empire is it’s imperialist wars against 3rd world nations. From Korea to Iraq these unjust wars of conquest, in far too many ways to enumerate here, have corrupted our national life and brought death and destruction to ourselves and much of the world.

I chose the Vietnam War because it was a holocaust and because our country is still in denial. Few American are aware that we killed five million Vietnamese in that war, along with over a million in Cambodia and Laos. Since 1975 there has been a concerted effort on the part of the imperialist to induce a kind of social amnesia about the true facts and history of the Vietnam War, to get over what they called the “Vietnam Syndrome.” As we can see from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have been largely successful.
I also saw that while the imperialist have been busy rewriting the popular history of that conflict, with ‘hero’ John McCain on point, the progressive community has produced no feature length docs on the Vietnam War, save Sir! No Sir!, which focused on the G.I. Resistance, in recent memory. I could find nothing that really connected the Vietnam War to the wars of today or focused on the criminal nature of the enterprise. So eighteen months ago I set out to create it.
I found a wealth of material on the Vietnam War. Much of it because journalists and filmmakers really covered that war in a way that had never been done before…or since. Much of it only released after a statutory 40 years, and some of it seeping out with time, like Robert McNamara’s admission in “Fog of War” that he put the number of Vietnamese killed at ‘only’ 3.4 million.

So here I give you LBJ admitting on tape that the plot that led to the assassination of the President of South Vietnam started in the Whitehouse. Bobby Kennedy, complaining at a NSC meeting that a coup in Vietnam might not be so easy as the one they just carried out in Iraq. LBJ and McNamara discussing the Gulf of Tonkin Incident BEFORE IT HAPPENED. I give you the Winter Soldiers and the Vietnamese villages, the bombing and agent orange. Jim Webb and Al Haig in uniform. I give you a picture of our imperialist war so damning and brutal in content that I believe it will change the world.

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