Front Line (1981)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Military & War, Politics & Government  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - Australia  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka

Director David Bradbury has put together a war documentary on the Vietnam years, as seen from the point of view of the Vietnamese, and one extraordinary Australian cameraman, Neil Davis, who supplied most of the footage. Davis first went to Vietnam in 1964 and decided then to film with the Vietnamese and not the Americans. As a result, his footage was seen around the globe for many years, offering the only alternative to a one-sided representation of events. Davis was made especially famous for his filming of a South Vietnamese general shooting a prisoner in cold blood on the street, and he risked his life more than once to record dangerous battles and to interview soldiers on the frontlines. The documentary exposes many American errors, such as the use of shaving lotions or cigarettes that could be smelled by anyone from a distance, or the excessive 70-lbs. of guns and clothing the GIs had to carry around. There are also the stories of friends lost to war, and the inevitable tales of destruction and torture that made Vietnam a low point in human history. In order to wrap up his coverage on events in Vietnam, Davis returned to film the fall of Saigon to the Viet Cong, for posterity capturing scenes of tanks knocking over the palace gates. The North Vietnamese allowed him to keep on filming when they found out he was Australian and not American. The result of all of Davis' footage, and his able commentary on little-known events and conditions of war were spliced together with other historical footage in a smooth chronological sequence that is seamless in the telling.



army, filmmaker, land-war, Vietcong, Vietnam, war, war-atrocities