Friday, June 11, 2010

Journey from the Fall

A man loves his country, but is on the losing side of a civil war.  Living conditions are deteriorating.  He knows he doesn't want his kids to grow up there, under the current regime, but he wants to stay and work for freedom in the country he loves.  That's the backdrop of Journey from the Fall, Viet Nam, 1975.  Long fought for the South Vietnamese army, supported by the U.S.  When the U.S. pulled out, he and his family had to decide: attempt to flee the country by boat, or stay in Viet Nam.  Ultimately, Long sends his wife and daughter on their way, but he stays.  They make it to the U.S.; he makes it to government "re-education" camps.
Journey from the Fall follows both journeys.  Both Long and his wife hold out hope for the survival of the other, but despair that the other has perished.  Their spirit and determination to thrive are inspiring.  The pain of separation, though, is heart-breaking.  I have heard the term "boat people" before, referring to refugees, but the depiction of these refugees, crowded and cramped, hidden in the hold of a fishing boat, brings realism to the term.  And Communist re-education camps--the treatment of Long and his fellow prisoners flies in the face of the Communists' stated love of their fellow man.

This is a beautiful movie about an ugly slice of history, and makes me want to hear the stories of the Vietnamese I meet in my community.

Bottom line, 3 stars.

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