URI’s series on Vietnam concludes with two events: Analysis of war and prize-winning film

KINGSTON, R. I. — November 29, 1999 — The University of Rhode Island’s honors colloquium, “Legacies of the Vietnam War,” wraps up with two events. The first is a lecture that was added to the series. The lecturer, Professor Charles Neu, will give an analysis of the overall impact of the Vietnam War in his talk, “The Vietnam War and the Transformation of America.” His lecture is on Monday, Dec. 6 in Chafee 271 at 7:30. Neu is the author of many books and essays on U.S. foreign policy in the 20th century. His next book, After Vietnam: Legacies of a Lost War, will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in the spring of 2000. His numerous honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the last decade, Neu has visited Vietnam three times, most recently in 1997 as part of Brown University’s Vietnam War Project. Neu received his bachelor’s of art in history and English literature at Northwestern University in 1958. He received his Ph.D. in American History at Harvard University in 1964. He has taught at Rice University and Brown University where he is now chair of the Department of History and a Faculty Associate at the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies. Neu hopes to bring an understanding to the enormous change experienced in the life of our nation as a result of its involvement in Vietnam. He will examine how the Vietnam War helped to change Americans’ sense of themselves. As the Vietnam War challenged widely-held national myths, it brought a weakening of Americans’ sense of their past and of their vision of the future. Consequently, the nation that entered the Vietnam War was far different from the one that left it. The final event of URI’s series will be a screening of Tony Bui’s Three Seasons (October Films, 1999) on Tuesday, Dec. 7 in URI’s Biological Sciences Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Tony Bui fled Vietnam at age of 2 with his parents-a father who had been an officer in the South Vietnamese Air Force and a mother who came from a family of Vietnamese artists. He grew up in Sunnyvale, California, where he became thoroughly assimilated into American society. His first trip back to Vietnam was at age 19 to visit his uncle, one of Vietnam’s best-known actors. During subsequent visits to Vietnam he learned the language and attempted to understand firsthand the culture of his country of origin. Filmmaking became part of this process. Bui’s Three Seasons is the first American film made in Vietnam since the end of the war. Bui wrote and directed the film, photographing it entirely in Vietnam on a budget of less than $2-million, using primarily Vietnamese actors, and telling the story in Vietnamese dialog with English subtitles. The film weaves together three stories: A young woman who is employed to pick and sell lotus blossoms by an ailing Vietnamese poet, a cycle driver who befriends a Vietnamese prostitute, and a street urchin who encounters a former U.S. Marine returned to Vietnam to find his Amerasian daughter. Together these stories depict young Vietnamese trying to sustain traditional values and a way of life in a post-war economy characterized by the transformative forces of modernization and globalization. Reviewing the film in The New York Times, Stephen Holden remarks, “Determined not to revisit the Vietnam War and to open up old wounds, Three Seasons preaches reconciliation, forgiveness, reverence for tradition and the salvaging of all that was best about the past.” Three Seasons garnered three awards at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival including the grand jury prize for best dramatic feature. -xxx- For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116