Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Archive for January 31st, 2012

Documentary Film,Guest Blogs,Khe Sanh,Vietnam War

January 31, 2012

Bravo!

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Screen writer and script doctor Lance Thompson muses on the movie.

It is ironic but true that the inhuman ordeal of combat often evokes the highest attributes of humanity–courage, sacrifice, selflessness and love.  These ideals are convincingly demonstrated in Ken and Betty Rodgers’ feature documentary Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon ValorBravo! is the story of a company of marines during the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War.  The story is told through the reminiscences of a handful of those marines, of whom Ken Rodgers is one.

Eschewing the animated maps, clumsy recreations and armchair revisionists, Bravo! focuses entirely on the personal experience of combat.  Viewers may not learn the historical, strategic, or political significance of the battle.  But they will certainly gain at least a glimpse if not a profound understanding of what it felt like to be there.

Archival footage, still photographs, and vintage audio recordings are sprinkled throughout the movie, but only as punctuation.  The power of the narrative comes entirely from the veterans who tell their stories on camera.  Some are animated and expressive, others quiet and contemplative.  As each recounts the experience from his own perspective, the film becomes a tapestry of individual threads of memory–intensely personal and vividly sharp.  The picture that emerges will horrify, inspire, challenge, and leave the viewer deeply moved.

The stories in Bravo! are told by older men, but they were lived by teenagers, fresh out of high school, with no experience to prepare them for war.  They were not unlike generations of young Americans who were summoned from family kitchen tables and dropped into front line trenches to confront a brutal and determined enemy.  Like those generations before and since, they were thrown into the crucible of conflict where their hearts and souls were tested.  Like those generations before and since, some faltered, some triumphed, all endured.  There can be no greater tribute to the depth and resilience of the human spirit.  Bravo! honors them.

 

Lance Thompson is a screen writer and script doctor who is privileged to know Ken and Betty Rodgers, and is thankful that they chose to tell this very important story.