The Little Girl of Hanoi | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Little Girl of Hanoi

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Perhaps the most amazing thing about Hai Ninh's 1974 Vietnamese propaganda feature, partly filmed during the U.S. bombing of Hanoi in 1972, is how strong and accomplished and beautiful it is, particularly given the almost impossible circumstances under which it was made. The simple but powerful story centers on a little girl wandering through the rubble of the city, looking for her parents until a soldier takes her under his wing. Told partially through flashbacks and incorporating everything from animation to documentary footage to studio rear projection, the film is remarkable not only for its sincerity and emotional directness, but for its accomplished visual style. And though it was clearly designed to boost morale, its anti-American feeling is remarkably mild given what we were doing to Vietnam at the time, especially compared to the anti-Vietnamese sentiments expressed in The Green Berets and The Deer Hunter; there's even a sympathetic American character, a nurse shown caring for wounded Vietnamese. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Sunday, May 8, 5:30, 281-4114.

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