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Film: In the Year of the Pig, 1968

Published on: October 10, 2015

Filed Under: Featured, Film

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In the Year of the Pig” is an Academy Award nominated documentary about the Vietnam War made in 1968. Director Emile De Antonio said in Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media (1978):

“IN THE YEAR OF THE PIG was/is an organizing weapon, a collage/history of the people’s struggle in Vietnam. That collage was made with the help of the DRV, the NLF, French Marxists, film and television friends of the Czech Democratic Republic (1967), the German Democratic Republic, U.S. deserters, antiwar veterans and the antiwar movement itself. It was made when the Movement was young, large, high on struggle and emotion, and without knowledge of what had happened in Vietnam, when it happened and why. No U.S. protest was shown in the film because it was the other addressing itself to us, frequently in our words and images. It was also the way we saw them from the mid-1930s to the Têt Offensive. It was a Marxist, historical line, not free from error.

Its audience was varied, intense, in some places even wide. It played European television but never U.S. Not even now. It played the U.S and Europe theatrically. Theaters were attacked. Screens were painted over with hammer and sickle (Los Angeles, among others); bomb threats to the theater in Houston; in Paris during a long, successful run, the cinema was systematically stink bombed. It was used as a tool by the Moratorium; it was a benefit for the Chicago Seven at the opening of their trial; the Australian antiwar movement used it as its primary film weapon; it played GI coffee houses; it played teach-ins. I still meet people who say, “Your film turned me to antiwar activity.” And yes, it still plays colleges.”

Despite the emphasis De Antonio places on his admittedly incredible archival footage, the intense and provocative interviews he gets from conservative establishment figures are what truly shed light on America’s still somehow mysterious war in Vietnam.

 

2 Responses to Film: In the Year of the Pig, 1968

  1. Jack Stone says:

    A nightmare reawakened by film. I never dreamed we as a nation could stoop lower than the entire Vietnam episode. How foolish I was when younger, to think our society could learn any lessons at all beyond how to kill more effectively, quietly, and out of public view. It continues to be a struggle just to walk around amongst a whole population entirely ignorant of what uses their taxes are put to by a tiny percentage of heartless, ruthless, insanely greedy and psychotically power-grabbing white males. Before I expire, I would love to see one single scintilla of solid convincing evidence that this completely sick system is rotting away to allow a far superior civilization to occupy the earth.

  2. Chris Appy says:

    This film is extraordinary. So much of the footage and commentary is unfamiliar and lost to memory. Catches many aspects of the war you won’t find in better known documentaries (largely because of it focus on the early years of the war).

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