If there was one photograph that captured the horrific nature of the Vietnam War, it was that of a nine-year old girl running naked down the road, screaming in agony from napalm burns that had eaten into her flesh. The photographer who took that picture of young Kim Phuc was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. But ironically, the picture that moved millions to tears, ultimately made Kim Phuc a victim all over again. This is her story.
Kim ran away from the photograph and all its pressures, to claim her own life. Four years ago, she and her husband defected to Canada, where they were given initial sanctuary by a Quaker activist. In order to confront her past, Kim comes to America, where she meets many people who help fill in the holes of her story—things she can't remember or knew only as an injured child. Kim learns that she will always be a public person—and a symbol.
Saywell's film crew also accompanied Kim Phuc on a remarkable odyssey to Washington's Vietnam War Memorial wall, as part of Veterans' Day ceremonies. There, dignitaries struggled to hold back tears as Kim, still in their minds as the little girl the whole world wanted to hold and make better, made it plain that her mission was one of forgiveness and a wider healing. Kim's Story culminates in an astonishing, unanticipated meeting between Kim and a former American officier who tells her that he ordered the napalm strike that almost killed her. In the end, Kim's Story is one of forgiveness—of the personal and public healing of wounds from this century's longest, most divisive war.
"A memorable portrait of an admirable woman whose body scars are daily reminders of the war that she cannot forget but claims to forgive"—Booklist
2000 National Women's Studies Conference Film Festival
"KIM'S STORY: THE ROAD FROM VIETNAM is a moving exploration of the human cost of war... sure to strike a chord among students viewing the film. It is sufficiently free of cant and broad enough to be of use in a variety of classroom settings, though it will prove most useful for courses at the secondary level and above that address the Second Indochina War or examine the relationship between women and war."—Education About Asia