‘Re-enacting the Vietnam War’

Roundup
tags: Vietnam War



Mike Attie, who lives in Chicago, and Meghan O’Hara, who lives in San Francisco, are the directors of “In Country,” a feature-length documentary that is to be released in theaters in spring 2015.

Growing up in the 1980s and ’90s, we were familiar with the idea of war re-enactments: masses of men in woolen uniforms dutifully recreating Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg or trading puffs of white smoke across the Lexington Battle Green while families and schoolchildren look on. Although they were recreating gruesome battles, it all seemed rather quaint.

We felt differently, however, when we learned of a small but growing community of men who gathered each year to recreate the Vietnam War. This was like picking at a scab that has yet to heal. It felt taboo.

This short film for Op-Docs (adapted from our feature-length documentary “In Country”) profiles two of these men. Unlike most war re-enactments, the pretend battles they stage are private, free of spectators and created for the experience of the participants alone. Outfitted in authentic period military gear, the men hike through the woods for days at a time, sleep on the ground, eat canned rations and carry actual Vietnam-era weapons (loaded with blanks). They do not stage battles but rather attempt to find and “kill” a group of Vietcong re-enactors waiting to ambush them...




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