Return With Honor
Description: It's probably not possible for any film that reexamines the historical experiences of the Vietnam War to be free from debate, and this exceptionally well-produced depiction of American POWs is certain to create animated discussion. Abstaining from basic questions regarding the war's legitimacy, filmmakers Freida Lee Mock and Terry Sanders present the stories of the American flyers who were captured and imprisoned in the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp straightforwardly and with little editorial comment. Without question, these stories are fascinating and detailed tales of survival (both individually and collectively) under the most adverse circumstances. By allowing so many different military officers to relate their memories of their torturous years in Vietnamese hands, Return with Honor brings a human face to the POW reality that is both riveting and moving. Utilizing remarkable images and an extensive amount of previously unseen Vietnamese footage documenting imprisonment, the filmmakers (whose previous work, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, won an Academy Award in 1995) offer an extremely comprehensive perspective on what generally is seen only in romantically heroic terms. The ingenuity and personal strength of the soldiers' resistance to their captors are bluntly and absorbingly related and add a new dimension to the reality of war and its suffering. But the question of whether the return of the POWs can now be viewed in a more patriotic context than was possible two decades ago still depends on one's under- standing and political opinion of a war on which we may never all agree.
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