Camouflage: Vietnamese Brush Strokes with History
by Bestor Cram | 2018 | USA | 75 min.
The filmmaker will attend and participate in a post-screening talk-back.
About the Film:
America’s war in Vietnam and its aftermath has been recorded and interpreted by painters primarily from Hanoi. Many of these artists were soldiers participating in the anti-American resistance, in which Vietnamese fought and killed Vietnamese. Younger artists encountered the devastating post war decades as communist Vietnam struggled to recover from the consequences of ‘victory.’ In this intimate documentary, all of the artists portrayed encountered profound difficulties that demanded personal courage and artistic determination.Their story is unknown to a world that continues to focus only on sacrifice as it is understood from one side.
Many Vietnamese lives were lived hidden in the jungle. And when the bombing stopped, freedoms were restricted necessitating art to provide new documentation of Vietnamese life. For decades, artists have used their canvas as a surface for revealing that which is hidden from view. The painter has borrowed the techniques of concealment to create images which examine realities in full view. It is done out of necessity for survival, for the preservation of truth in history, for the encouragement of social transformation; it is a form of camouflage.
The exploration of these contemporary artists in their studios in modern Vietnam provides a unique window into understanding history from a different perspective. The ongoing effects of Agent Orange is a particular common theme explored in uncommon ways revealing a war’s enduring tension.