A Film by: Fred Aronow, Nancy Baker, Joe Bangert, Rhetta Barron, Robert Fiore,
David Gillis, David Grubin, Jeff Holstein, Barbara Jarvis, Al Kaupas, Barbara
Kopple, Mark Lenix, Michael Lesser, Lee Osborne, Lucy Massie Phenix, Roger
Phenix, Benay Rubenstein, Nancy Miller Saunders & The Vietnam Veterans Against
Winter Soldier is
a documentary which one experiences, instead of simply viewing. Over three days
in January and February 1971, just a couple months before Lieutenant William
Calley would be sentenced to life in prison for the My Lai Massacre (he would
eventually serve less than four years), a group of Vietnam War veterans convened
at a Howard Johnson in Detroit to testify about the atrocities they had
witnessed or partaken in while serving in Vietnam. The conference was titled “The
Winter Soldier Investigation,” after Thomas Paine: “These are the times that
try men’s souls. The summertime soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this
crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now,
deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
Needless to say, the country didn’t stand up and thank the (mostly long-haired and disenchanted) vets for reminding them of the sinkhole of iniquity America had mired itself in overseas. The gut-wrenching, eye-opening stories delivered by hundreds of soldiers in that sterile hotel conference room were mostly ignored by the media, and would likely have sunk without a trace after being published in the Congressional Record. The testimony, however, was shot by a group called the Winterfilm Collective (including the future Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple) and edited into a tight, 95-minute piece of scorching truth-telling that played around at some film festivals, colleges, and one small Manhattan cinema, before mostly disappearing from the scene. out of
Theatrical Release: January 27th, 1972
DVD Review: Millarium Zero - Region 0 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Millarium Zero - Region 0 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 4.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||French, German None|
Conversation with the Filmmakers
Firstly, the overwhelming star of this DVD is the feature documentary. It is an incredibly educating and impacting experience. I found it moving and of a highly unforgettable nature. Priceless cinema.
The DVD image and audio are quite acceptable. It is progressively transferred and possibly has some contrast boosting but is relatively free of damage outside of the archival footage which indicates the frugal production and, often desperate, circumstances around filming. This stands as an important record of The Vietnam Veterans Against the War; a group of ex-G.I.s exercising their unified free speech, brought together in Detroit, Michigan in the winter of 1971. They relate their military experiences serving in Vietnam.
Aside from this monumental documentary the DVD is stacked with extra features. Short films, a discussion by the filmmakers some 35 years later, a trailer, stills gallery - all offered with succinct dignity and completeness. I strongly recommend this DVD.