Entertaining Vietnam | Chicago Reader

Entertaining Vietnam

In the 60s, Mara Wallis left Australia to entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam as a go-go dancer; now a middle-aged filmmaker, she looks back at the experience with obvious nostalgia, as do most of the Aussie and American dancers and bar-band musicians she interviews. About half of her 53-minute documentary (2002) is stock footage of army helicopters synced to period pop songs; with a tighter edit, this could have been something. Also on the program is Eric Marin's diverting Baschet: The Transfiguration of Daily Life (2003, 31 min.), which looks at the fanciful musical instruments and “sound sculptures” created since the 50s by brothers Francois and Bernard Baschet. They're the French equivalent of Harry Partch, only more fun to listen to. In French with subtitles.

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