For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to think of various continuing blog posts I can do to practice for BEDA. Since I enjoy movies a lot, many of the ideas have been film related. Ever since my library started buying adult DVDs (not THOSE kind of adult DVDs…..get your mind out of the gutter!) I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries, so I am going to try to post about a new one every Monday. For the first 28 years of my life, I don’t know if I ever even watched a documentary, but I’ve discovered that I LOVE them! So hopefully these posts will help other documentary newbies find some titles they might like.
Awards–Won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1995
Summary–This film is about Maya Lin, the artist who designed the Vietnam Memorial. It goes into detail about the controversy surrounding the Vietnam Memorial and also features some of the important pieces she has designed since then.
My Thoughts–I really loved all the stuff about the Vietnam Memorial. I knew almost nothing about it before I saw this film. I have never been there, but I have always pictured it as a solemn place where family members and friends can remember their loved ones. Apparently it was super controversial when it was first being built.
Back in 1979, a group of Vietnam vets formed a committee to create a memorial and they had a contest for people and companies to enter a design. There were over 1,400 designs entered, many of them done by prestigious architectural firms. Well, the winning design came from a 21 year-old student!!! I think that is so awesome!!! Maya Lin and the committee had an uphill battle to fight because some people (mainly a small but outspoken group of veterans) were opposed to the design. There were even some people who were upset that Maya Lin was the designer because of her Asian heritage.
All of this was so fascinating to me! My favorite parts were the interviews with members of the committee and Maya herself. Even though the documentary was filmed almost 15 years after everything took place, it was still an emotional topic for several of the interviewees. I totally admired Maya and kind of want her to teach me all about art. She was so well spoken and mature, even in the news footage from when she was 21. Even while her work was being viciously attacked by people twice her age, she was unwavering in her commitment to the design. As a person in that situation, I would have burst into tears and hid under my bed (that’s what I would do NOW…..who knows what I would have done at 21).
The rest of the documentary focuses on some of the other important projects she has worked on including the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama and a piece celebrating women at Yale University. I did like this part of the film, especially seeing how her designs all had a similar feel, but were completely unique to each situation, but I thought that the filmmakers could have spent more time talking about the Vietnam Memorial. I honestly thought the whole thing could have been just about that. That section seemed to end really abruptly and then move on to her other works.
Final Verdict–Overall I liked it a lot. I don’t know a lot about art, but I found her pieces and her explanations for them fascinating. Good for history buffs or art lovers.
P.S. I picked Mondays because it makes me think of NonFiction Monday, which is something a lot of Kidlit bloggers take part in. Since documentaries are nonfiction…well, you know.