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Documentary - Hearts and Minds

            Hearts and Minds (1974), is a Peter Davis documentary concerning various perspectives on the influences, circumstances, and the results of the United States of America presence in Vietnam during the mid sixties until the early seventy's. Davis makes the decision to present information from a variety of sources, portraying material not purely focused on the American solider side of the conflict, but also from the perspective of deserters, citizens of Vietnam, military family members, politicians, and even average Americans back home. Decades later, through Davis' most careful and deliberate execution of filming and editing, this film is still able to elicit an emotional response. Using the approach to documentary filming called cinema vérité and purposefully juxtaposing contrasting ideals and misconceptions, Davis' brings to the screen a meaningful and provocative representation of events in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He shows America and the world a side to the War which until then had not yet been exposed.
             What I find attractive about the documentary Hearts and Minds (1974), is that of the style of filming, as well editing used. The way the film was put together allowed many perspectives, at times extremely conflicting ones, to express the story of events that were currently unfolding in Vietnam. Although I did not 'enjoy' the violent subject matter in a number of scenes, nor did I find some of the commentary settling, both were unavoidable given the affair it was covering as well as the emotion and realness the film needed to present. While using cross cuts, to compare ideologies, Davis declares a similarity between back home football coaches inspiring their players to win and figuratively 'kill ' the opposing team, and high ranking military persons demoralizing the citizens of Vietnam to that of 'enemy ' to their soldiers. I found this editing tactic to be ingenious.

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