Daily Archives: May 6, 1994

The Little Girl of Hanoi

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Hai Ninh’s 1974 Vietnamese propaganda feature, partly filmed during the U.S. bombing of Hanoi in 1972, is how strong and accomplished and beautiful it is, particularly given the almost impossible circumstances under which it was made. The simple but powerful story centers on a little girl wandering through the rubble of the city, looking for her parents until a soldier takes her under his wing. Told partially through flashbacks and incorporating everything from animation to documentary footage to studio rear projection, the film is remarkable not only for its sincerity and emotional directness, but for its accomplished visual style. And though it was clearly designed to boost morale, its anti-American feeling is remarkably mild given what we were doing to Vietnam at the time, especially compared to the anti-Vietnamese sentiments expressed in The Green Berets and The Deer Hunter; there’s even a sympathetic American character, a nurse shown caring for wounded Vietnamese. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Sunday, May 8, 5:30, 281-4114.… Read more »

On the Bridge

A fascinating documentary (1992) that’s much easier to watch than you’d think. Filmmaker Frank Perry (David and Lisa, Mommie Dearest) charts his own determined fight against inoperable cancer, and the amazing thing is how cheerful it makes him. Part of his philosophy (and the film’s) is that state of mind influences state of body, which means that he tries out all sorts of alternative healing methods, many of which seem to work; perhaps even more important is the attitude he takes toward his search and his joyful sense of discovery. The film is as interesting for what it leaves out as for what it includes (we learn nothing about his family or his closest friends, apart from his cameraman and sound person), but what it includes seems like very strong medicine. Music Box, Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8.… Read more »