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17th Parallel: Vietnam in War (1968)

Le 17e parallèle: La guerre du peuple (original title)
During some months, the Dutch movie director Ivens and some North Vietnamese colleagues filmed the life of North Vietnamese peasants under the menace of heavy American bombardments. The result is an indictment of all forms of war.
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Storyline

During some months, the Dutch movie director Ivens and some North Vietnamese colleagues filmed the life of North Vietnamese peasants under the menace of heavy American bombardments. The result is an indictment of all forms of war.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | War

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Details

Country:

France | North Vietnam

Language:

French

Release Date:

26 September 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

17th Parallel: Vietnam in War See more »

Filming Locations:

Vietnam

Company Credits

Production Co:

Argos Films, Capi Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
A truly alternate point of view

Joris Ivens' 1968 documentary, 17th Parallel, is compelling, albeit flawed, viewing. Filmed in co-operation (to put it mildly) with the North Vietnamese government at the height of America's involvement in the war, it recounts the struggles of the people who live along the 17th parallel or, as it was more commonly known at the time, the Demilitarized Zone. What makes it so fascinating to this American was it brought home just how little I knew about the people of Vietnam and how the war was seen from their point of view. Since the DMZ was pretty much ground zero, Ivens use of the relentless background noise of jets and artillery drives home the fact that the peasant's life was not an easy one, and the views of the extensive underground bunkers called home add to the understanding.

That said, Ivens, whose career spanned from the late '20s to the '80s with stints in the Soviet Union and Spanish Civil War, could capture war in excruciatingly uncomfortable ways. Particularly difficult are the 9 year old children with rifles and practicing their 'English' to use when they confront soldiers, and the captured fighter pilot being marched through the village. However, this is obviously propaganda. We are given endless sequences of committee members aiding the proletariat, and their estimates of enemy killed and wounded are even more preposterous than ours were at the time. More odious than the propaganda we were creating (**cough**Green Berets**cough**)? Maybe not, still, it's a slice of history that does present an alternate viewpoint that is worth seeing for those that are interested.


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