Thought of the day

15 09 2008

Isn’t it strange that we (as: humanity) spend so much time and energy creating things that don’t exist? Whole industries are dedicated solely to the purpose of creating non-existent worlds. And then, other people come and analyze those non-existent stories and characters that populate them, treating them as if they were real.

But stories and life are not the same, even if some of us can see some story patterns to what happens in the reality. What drives us to do so?

Sidetracks: The Horror…

15 09 2008

Some interesting background bits regarding Apocalypse Now, from an article about Kok Ksor, the President of the Montagnard Foundation, Inc.

In one of the final scenes of Apocalypse Now Marlon Brando, tired of the war, gives direction to who was sent to kill him: “Go, and tell of the horror, remember the heart of darkness.” The multi-decorated Colonel Kurtz has to die because he does not obey the orders of the American General Staff: he has allied himself with an indigenous tribe and is conducting a personal war against the Viet Cong.

From the screen of a laptop, Kurtz/Brando is talking directly to him, to the Vietnamese who since 1975 travels the world to tell of the horror, the horror of then and the horror of now.

[The Montagnard people] were in the middle of [the war], and they saw everything, and they lived the horror to the end. “Yes, I saw it too” like Colonel Kurtz “piles of small arms of the children chopped off with machetes to terrorize the population, to convince them not to accept American help, not even for the Polio vaccination. (…)

At the beginning we did not want to take sides. But the Americans have used us: they allowed the Viet Cong to attack our villages, and for us it was almost impossible to defend ourselves. Then they promised that at the end of the war they would have helped us regain our independence. So we did take sides, and we have been the fiercest allies of the Americans. But not of the Generals or of the Politicians: of the soldiers, of the non-commissioned officers. For us it was people who had come to help us, had come to die of a country that was not their own. Yes, the loyalty of the tribe around Colonel Kurtz in the film is real. We are a very loyal people.

This lines bear certain irony, as the model role of John Wayne as the American super-soldier seems to be at least a little ambiguous (as stated here).


A great friend of ours was John Wayne, who came to us, at Pleiku, where the Fourth Infantry Division was stationed, to film “Green Berets”, that is the history of how for many years the American strategy has been simply to fortify our villages. I was 17 years old. In those months he lived with us, in the breaks of production he wanted that us kids took him to the jungle “to understand”. With him we built a special link. We gave him our sacred bracelet, a brass strip in the shape of an arrow, with the symbols of the animals we had sacrificed for him. He wore that bracelet until the last day of his life. Now I know that Francis Ford Coppola is also our friend: his movie is almost perfect in all the details when it tells about us.

Wikipedia on Kok Ksor

Platoon (1986) reviewed by Victoria Baschzok

14 09 2008

found HERE

The lady definitely didn’t get it. I wonder what movie she was watching…

cudz.jpg picture by alveni[Platoon] was made up of a young, naive and well-intentioned officer who commanded young, well-intentioned soldiers, including the naive hero, Chris. The source of power in the group was a blondish, pale, beautiful, gentle yet strong and wise sergeant. These people all believed in the American dream and saw themselves as victims of injustice. huh.gif picture by alveni The source of power in the company was also a sergeant – a senior staff sergeant. However, he was dark-skinnedhuh.gif picture by alveni, cynical, scarred and cunning. The first represented the American ideal; the second was the devil. To be more exact, the second represented a constant in American history – the traitor,  Benedict Arnold in modern dress, the man who believes that men of principle are weak, the force of evil within each person and therefore within the nation. His cynicism and crude interpretation of reality enable him to trick others into temporarily betraying the American dreamhuh.gif picture by alveni

A negative review…

14 09 2008

…of Platoon found HERE. I see, the reviewer didn’t like the symbolic underlining of the movie, but at least he/she doesn’t call it leftist propaganda made by a jerk and conspiracy theorist, lol. I kind of like the John Wayne comparison.

cudz.jpg picture by alveniRather than being about the Vietnam war as it really was, this film is basically an exercise in what America wants the vietnam war to be. Despite endless comments to the contrary, there is nothing “realistic” about the film. The characters and plot are almost cartoonish. Its like a postmodernist John Wayne movie with different politics.In real life, things don’t break down into “good” soldiers and “evil” soldiers. Real life and real people are about shades of grey. The war also changed over time. Oliver Stone served in 1967 but the movie is often showing situations that were more out of 1971 with which he had no personal experience.

What a real film about vietnam would show is ordinary people doing a tough job day after day and doing the best they could. Its not about archtype evil officers, good/evil “father” figures and long political monologues. 

About the only thing this film got right were the uniforms.

Sidetracks: Heroes of My Lai honoured

14 09 2008

Was looking what MSN Live Search has to offer about OS and Platoon and found an excerpts from “Napalm am Morgen” (Napalm in the Morning), a German book about Vietnam War Movies which mentioned this:

From BBC News website, Saturday, March 7, 1998: 
Heroes of My Lai honoured

cudz.jpg image by alveniTwo soldiers [Hugh Thompson Jr and Lawrence Colburn] who stopped their comrades from slaughtering innocent civilians during the Vietnam War 30 years ago have been awarded the Soldier’s Medal. The family of a third, who was later killed in the conflict, will also receive the honour, the highest the US Army can award for bravery not involving direct conflict with the enemy.

I cannot believe it took 30 years! Sadly, Hugh Thompson died on cancer in 2006 and Ronald Ridenhour, who sputted the investigation in May 1998.

However on Thompson’s Wikipedia page there is a quotation of a dialogue between Thompson and Calley:

Calley: [I am] Just following [orders]…
Thompson: But, these are human beings, unarmed civilians, sir.
Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. I’m in charge here. It ain’t your concern. 

I wonder if Stone intentionally gave a similar line to Barnes.


Further links: 

Well, what a way to spend 3 hours of a Sunday afternoon…

Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. I’m in charge here. It ain’t your concern.

An Obscure Little Thing…

14 09 2008

…found in an article about tattoos from The Indian Runner.

cudz.jpg image by alveniHis left hand says “kill” across the knuckles and the right reads “f*ck.” That pretty much summarizes Frank’s attitude in life and how he often deals with things.

tattoos on one’s knuckles might be just a popular way of stating one’s attitude, or just another “shadow” of Platoon smuggled by Viggo Mortensen. Only that in Frankie’s world of extremes “love” turned into “f*ck” and “hate” became “kill”. How fitting…

Read my previous posts about Viggo Mortensen as Elias:   Post 1 Post 2


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