During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only--or to risk treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can.
Her latest film, Last Days in Vietnam, opens in select theaters on Sept. 5. The documentary chronicles the last few days—in particular, the last 24 hours—of the Vietnam War. With the North Vietnamese Army closing in on Saigon, a group of besieged American soldiers and diplomats tried their best to beat back against the White House’s order to only evacuate U.S. citizens, instead trying to save as many South Vietnamese citizens as possible. Kennedy’s film includes interviews with diplomats, soldiers, and helicopter pilots who were all on the ground at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, as well as several South Vietnamese who were left behind and forced into reeducation camps—some for as long as a decade—by the NVA.Why did you feel the need to make a documentary about the final days of the Vietnam War?Rory Kennedy on ‘Last Days in Vietnam,’ the Parallels Between Vietnam and Iraq, and Ferguson
The executive producer for the project, Mark Samels, had approached me to do a film about the last days in Vietnam. I’ve always been interested in Vietnam, feel it’s a seminal event in our nation’s history, and have explored it over the years—but I hadn’t been interested in doing a documentary about it. I felt there had been a lot done about Vietnam, and didn’t know if I could add anything new to the discussion. Then, after doing research, I learned that there was a lot more to the event that took place. The final days were, collectively, an extraordinarily dramatic moment, and when I came across the stories of the people on the ground who’d gone against U.S. policy—which was just to get the Americans out of Vietnam, since Saigon was falling very quickly—and risked their lives to save the Vietnamese, I didn’t feel that story had been told in any significant way. A lot of people feel they’re familiar with the events through the iconic photo of the helicopter leaving the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, but a lot of people I talked to while making the film didn’t really know what had happened. In addition, I felt the film was really timely given our departures from Iraq and Afghanistan.
It sounds like an interesting documentary, and should be a good interview.
Original at xkcd.com
Before creating the webcomic, Randall Munroe was a NASA roboticist. He is on tonight to discuss his new book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following.This sounds like a great book and I expect will be an entertaining interview.
Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?
In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.
The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with updated and expanded versions of the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? will be required reading for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.
This Week's Shows
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART
Th 9/4: Adam Levine
THE COLBERT REPORT
Th 9/4: Doris Kearns Goodwin