In honor of Memorial Day, our friends at SnagFilms are hosting a special section of films with the intention "to honor the fallen, and to reflect on our own duties of remembrance and action." The eleven documentaries cover a good range of subjects; the one that first caught my eye is Vietnam, Long Time Coming.
Directed by Jerry Blumenthal, Peter Gilbert, and Gordon Quinn, and narrated by Joe Mantegna, the film chronicles "a gathering of American and Vietnamese veterans, many of them disabled, who collectively travel on bicycles and hand cycles [on a] 1,200 mile, 16-day journey" through Vietnam, wrote Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader when naming the movie among his 10 best of 1998. Rosenbaum felt that "all sorts of issues -- from the corporate sponsorship to the music on the sound track to the status of the undertaking as a sporting event -- get in the way, despite the intelligent and purposeful narration delivered by Joe Mantegna. But I can't deny that certain moments in Vietnam: Long Time Coming brought me to tears -- especially the vets' statements as they struggle to make sense of the Vietnam war and their experience of it. As an act of witness to those struggles, the film is irreplaceable."
Blumenthal and Gilbert are long-time documentarians; Gilbert worked on Hoop Dreams and has continued to make documentaries, including last year's excellent At the Death House Door with Steve James. We've embedded the movie below for your viewing convenience. More information is available at Kartemquin Films and at SnagFilms.