Notes and Images from the Vietnam War

Here’s a film for high school students and their teachers about the history of the Viet Nam War, composed of just photographs from that war, narration and, to help us through a damned disheartening story, lots of the Bach Suite for Solo Cello #1 in G.

The film is 45 minutes long––perfect for classroom use and repeated screenings by students on their own. It’s my response to the flawed Burns/Novick 17-hour PBS series, The Vietnam War… too long for the classroom and failing in many ways as a useful account of the tragic Viet Nam war.

It’s free to stream or download the film from this website, so teachers, help yourselves. I’ve also provided a curriculum for teaching the film and some additional writings useful for understanding the Viet Nam War.

Teachers should warn their students that the film is highly critical of the Viet Nam War. Teachers should also warn students in advance that this material can be upsetting. But I believe young adults can and must grapple with this grim history in order to avoid repeating it.

– Jill Godmilow

The Film

“Godmilow’s focus is not on political pronouncements or military strategy but on the human cost of the war to both sides. Everyone had a plan, everyone had a goal, everyone rationalized their actions, but in the thick of all this, the horrendous cost of a pointless war relentlessly accumulated. Godmilow makes this painfully obvious with her superbly orchestrated montage of visual evidence and verbal judgment.”

Bill Nichols, Cineaste Magazine