Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Long before America was mired in an unwinnable conflict in Vietnam, the French had spent decades in an attempt to hold onto their Indochinese colonies, which included Vietnam. By the early 1950s, several generations of dedicated, independence-minded Vietnamese had fought the French to a standstill. This long conflict culminated in a battle along the Laotian border near the town of Dien Bien Phu in March, 1954, which the French narrowly lost. That loss led to a negotiated settlement and the partition of Vietnam. Broken promises and French stubbornness resulted in continued conflict in South Vietnam and the eventual involvement of the Americans. In this film, the wider human face of that 1954 conflict is seen through the eyes of an American reporter, played by Donald Pleasence, as he travels through Vietnam researching the story. In particular, it follows the fate of one group of soldiers, members of the French Foreign Legion, whom the reporter meets at a bar in Hanoi. It is a remarkable testament to political changes in the world that this French movie was filmed in Vietnam with the cooperation of the Vietnamese government.
French [nationality], Vietnam