Ken Burns’ The Viet­nam War

The TCM host’s picks for most ed­u­ca­tional:

Albuquerque Journal - Parade - - Front Page - Go to Pa­rade.com/viet­nam to read Burns and Novick’s full es­say.

for on­screen re­al­ism, noth­ing gets you closer than a doc­u­men­tary. Once pri­mar­ily an “ed­u­ca­tional” sub­set of films re­leased in the­aters, doc­u­men­taries are now widely avail­able—and very pop­u­lar—on the small screen, like ESPN’s long-run­ning inside-sports series 30 for 30, CNN’s The Sev­en­ties and Net­flix’s ac­claimed Mak­ing a Mur­derer, which won four Em­mys. ESPN’s O.J.: Made in Amer­ica won a 2016 Os­car for Best Doc­u­men­tary.

Film­maker Ken Burns and his pro­duc­tion part­ner and co-di­rec­tor Lynn

Novick unveil their lat­est doc­u­men­tary, The Viet­nam War, a new 10-part, 18-hour series, Sept. 17 on PBS. It joins their other col­lab­o­ra­tions, which in­clude Base­ball, The War and The Civil War. Pa­rade asked Burns and Novick, why Viet­nam, why now? Here’s what they said:

“The seeds of many of the troubles that be­set us to­day— alien­ation, re­sent­ment and cyn­i­cism; mis­trust of our gov­ern­ment and each other; break­down of civil dis­course and civic in­sti­tu­tions—were sown dur­ing the Viet­nam War. Un­til we find a way to come to terms with this un­set­tled and enor­mously con­se­quen­tial event, its ghosts will con­tinue to haunt us.

“Far too of­ten when Amer­i­cans think about Viet­nam, we are think­ing only about our­selves. But we can­not be­gin to make sense of the war with­out a deep un­der­stand­ing of his­tory, cul­ture, be­liefs and so­cial norms of our en­e­mies and our al­lies, with­out know­ing what they were fight­ing for, and against.

“Per­haps, if we lis­ten to each other with open hearts, we can find some peace in the pro­found truths this epic tragedy can teach about the hu­man con­di­tion, loy­alty, re­silience, jus­tice, for­give­ness and, ul­ti­mately, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.”

1. Lin­coln

[2012]. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Os­car for his por­trayal of the 16th pres­i­dent in the Steven

Spiel­berg–di­rected biopic. “We know Tony Kush­ner’s screen­play was adapted from Doris Kearns Good­win’s book, and Spiel­berg and Daniel Day-Lewis both did tremen­dous jobs re­search­ing.”

2. Selma [2014]. David Oyelowo stars as Martin Luther King Jr. in this chron­i­cle of the his­toric 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Mont­gomery, Ala. “There will be some quib­bling about the pol­i­tics, but this is a pic­ture of an over­all crit­i­cal time in Amer­ica, and that’s valu­able.” 3. Saving Pri­vate Ryan [1998] Tom Hanks leads an all-star cast in this ac­claimed drama based on the events sur­round­ing WWII’s D-Day in­va­sion. “Not a true story but, by all ac­counts, one that helps us un­der­stand what com­bat is like—and the ab­sur­dity of war, even when it’s a no­ble cause.”

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