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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.