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Kim's Story: The Road from Vietnam
A film by Shelley Saywell
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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

"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

2000 National Women's Studies Conference Film Festival
  

48 minutes / color
Release: 1997
Copyright: 1996
Sale: $298

Subject areas:
Asia, Biographies, Communications, Conflict Resolution, History (World), Media Studies, Photography, Politics, Southeast Asia, Vietnam Era, Women's Studies

Related Links:
The Films of Shelley Saywell

Related Titles:
A Child's Century of War: Takes the viewer on a journey through the past century - the bloodiest in history - from the perspective of children, and tells their stories in their voices.

Madam Phung's Last Journey: Madam Phung and her transgender singers travel around Vietnam, sparking fascination and hostility from the local people.

Crimes of Honour: Filmed in Jordan and on the West Bank, investigates the terrible reality of femicide—the killing of sisters or daughters suspected of losing their virginity, for having refused an arranged marriage or having left a husband.

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