Veterans for Peace associate member Jill Godmilow, Professor Emerita, Department of Film, Television & Theatre, University of Notre Dame, just released a 45-minute film she made to explain the 20-year Viet Nam war to high school students—a job teachers have reported is extremely difficult, according to Howard Machtinger, past coordinator of VFP’s Viet Nam Full Disclosure project.
Howie’s comment is what inspired Jill to make this classroom-length film, which effectively tells the story through carefully sequenced, striking imagery. Accompanied by a soundtrack featuring Bach Suite for Solo Cello #1 in G along with Jill’s matter-of-factual, concise narrative, the film achieves in 45 minutes what Burns & Novick failed to do in 18 hours. Designed as a teaching aid for high school history teachers, who will be invited to download it for free, this film will also be a great tool for talking about war with adults of all ages and educational levels.
“Here’s a film for high school students and their teachers about the history of the Viet Nam War, composed of just photographs from that war, narration and, to help us through a damned disheartening story, lots of the Bach Suite for Solo Cello #1 in G.
The film is 45 minutes long––perfect for classroom use and repeated screenings by stu-dents on their own. It’s my response to the flawed Ken Burn/Lynn Novick 18-hour PBS series, The Vietnam War… too long for the classroom and failing in many ways as a useful account of the tragic Viet Nam war.
It’s free to stream or download the film from this website, so teachers, help yourselves. I’ve also provided a curriculum, produced by the Zinn Education Project’s Rethinking Schools for teaching this film, and some additional useful writings for understanding the Viet Nam War.
I recommend that teachers warn their students that the film is highly critical of the Viet Nam War. Teachers should also warn students in advance that this material can be upsetting. But I believe young adults can, and must, grapple with this grim history and the presence of this war, in order to avoid repeating it.”