FORGOTTEN MEMORIES: RE-CONSTRUCTING THE VIETNAM WAR IN FILMS

Abstract

As many scholars have written about the Vietnam War, this thesis, Forgotten Memories: Re-Constructing the Vietnam War in Films, explores a different approach to this topic by examining films. Historical films are becoming increasingly important in shaping the way the past is understood and remembered. After the war ended, many Hollywood films have continued to capture the atrocities of the war that affected the war narrative of the Vietnam War. American politics and the public suffered from the Vietnam Syndrome, and they lost confidence in the military and government structures. These emotions are translated into Hollywood films about the Vietnam War. The victory of the Gulf War in 1991 finally helped them to get out of the shadow of that psychological fear in foreign intervention. The Vietnam War films have made its comeback after the September 11th attacks. Many scholars have compared the war against terrorism is similar to the war against communism in the 1950s. Over the years, Hollywood has produced many films that are either directly about or set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. The different representations of the Vietnam War presenting in both American and Vietnamese films produced between 1979 and 2005 explain how the film war narrative reconstruct the memory of history. By examining both American and Vietnamese films about the Vietnam War, this study calls attention to the importance of the Vietnamese experience in our understanding of the Vietnam War and brings an international perspective to the study of this subject in cultural and film studies. By identifying trends and discussing similarities and differences in film-narrative tropes across both American and Vietnamese films about the Vietnam War, this research argues that the film industry has shaped the collective memory of the Vietnam War. In doing so, Hollywood has highlighted the memorable and traumatic events that occurred during the war to construct the film narrative and generate a widespread perception of v the war. Vietnam’s government, due to the war’s destruction, made it a top priority to rebuild the economy and used films to deliver only social propaganda, expressing its gratitude and sympathy to families who lost their loved ones in the war.

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