Long documentary about the everyday life in Vinh Linh and other villages near the 17th parallel, the demarcation line between North and South Vietnam. This area was bombed heavily bombarded during the Vietnam war, whic...展开h forced the villagers to live partly underground. The film shows the ingenuity and the determination of the North-Vietnamese people to defend their country and their own land. The shocking but 'clean' images, the pace of the editing (to illustrate the slow pace of life in an agricultural community) and the synchronous sound of the ongoing bombardments in the background, gives this film also cinematographic importance.
The war in Vietnam, here filmed from the perspective of the people suffering from the conflict, is the subject of this documentary. Adults and children live and die, and the young are indoctrinated to refer to Americans as "pirates." An American serviceman is captured and paraded through a small village before being sent to Hanoi. The everyday lives of the Vietnamese and their struggles to survive are illustrated without propaganda, allowing the events and the camera to tell their stories. A complex labyrinth of underground tunnels contains homes, hospitals and hiding places from the barrage of bombs and gunfire.
Le 17ème Parallele (The Seventeenth Parallel) (1968) sees Ivens using light 16 mm cameras and synchronised sound for the first time, although he is still constructing his films around central characters, bending reality to the camera. But the result is a powerful account, in black and white, of life in the underground villages of the Vietnamese army, farming among the shell holes and watching for in-coming bombs. A downed US airman is paraded through the village, and children learn how to shout “hands up!” in English.