Journey from the Fall: Final Thoughts

It’s not about the end but rather how you got there.

So after finishing a rather grueling lab I decided to rent some movies about 3-D folk and wound up watching something that I had been meaning for some time to see but with that rolling release it never came to my end of the earth. So Journey from the Fall is a historical drama that was based on the experience of those who survived the camps and the perilous journey in leaky boats. It was quite different from the typical Vietnam film as it deals much more about the consequences of the North Vietnamese victory in 1975 and lacks the glory, action, and moonshine of jungle warfare that marks most films that deal with the Vietnam War. It does something I wish all films with an anti-war theme would do, namely show the consequences of war rather than the heroics of war. Perhaps one day the complete story of the Vietnam War will be told and reflected upon by less impassioned minds, but nonetheless it is part of the minority of films that dealt with what happened to the Vietnamese Diaspora who count themselves among the lesser known victims of the war.

Just because you go for realism doesn’t mean you can’t be snide…

These two figured out the best use for a communist.

It’s a real tear jerky film but the events remain somewhat universal to most of the people who fled Vietnam in the years after the communist victory and those who languished in camps. I like that it doesn’t try to debate the morality of the war because just about every one lost, with exception to the politburo. The film covers the fall, the camps, the journey, and the not so smooth assimilation to the new home. I can’t find the words to describe the film other than that it was good. I hope more people would take the time to see it now that it has been released on DVD. If your family did recently immigrate to a new land then I think that you can relate to most of the assimilation arc. I know I chuckled a bit inside when some of the scenes reminded me about how my parents struggled to make ends meet.

The leaky boat.

Sad thing is not all of them made it.

Even if it deals specifically about the refuges and prisoners of the Vietnam War, it is also a reminder that even at the end of a war there is usually the issue of displaced persons and refugees. Often the ensuing refugee crises in the wake of conflict hardly illicit the sort of international response than the mobilization for and the opposition to war, and seldom become topics of discussion. It might be a presage of things to come when a state fails, or harsh regimes gain hegemony. I hope that in the future that even if people are vocal about their opposition to war that they retain such drive to solve the problems that come after. It is rather sad that in the case of Vietnam the willingness to oppose the war did not translate into corresponding motivation to cope with the ensuing refugee crisis. Regardless of politics I hope the enthusiasm to complain about a mess will some day equal efforts to deal with the aftermath.

If nothing else you should see this film because it was banned in the People’s Republic of Vietnam.

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 8, 2008 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    If what you say about this being banned in Vietnam is true, I’ve got to get it and show this to a girl I know. She’s not going to be able to get to watch this otherwise.

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