In winter of 1971, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized a conference in Detroit. For several days, more than 100 veterans testified about war atrocities they had either committed or observed during their tours of duty. Well received in Europe, the 1972 film has been virtually unknown in the United States. In fact, until recently, Americans could only learn of its existence from brief mentions in hard-to-find books, such as Amos Vogel's 1974 classic Film as a Subversive Art.
But that has changed. Thanks to a DVD rerelease (from Millarium Zero) and a Web presence (wintersoldierfilm.com), the film is now easier than ever to see, and at no time since the fall of Saigon has it been more relevant.
Though the film consists of testimony recorded by a stationary camera, the testimony is moving and often chilling. Vets talk about throwing bound prisoners of war out of high-flying helicopters, describe search-and-destroy missions, and tell what that Americans were not learning from the mass media: Innocent civilians were bearing the brunt of the war.
Screens Friday, Jan. 5, as part of "Meditations on War" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-6622. Talk at 8 p.m., film at 9 p.m.
Michael Jackman is a writer and copy editor for Metro Times. E-mail email@example.com.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.