Daily Archives: March 7, 2024

A Brief Reflection on “Winning” and “Losing”


I’ve been haunted lately by a very moving and eloquent comment made last Saturday at a panel discussion which I participated in, held at the Smithsonian. The occasion was a screening of a restoration of Hai Ninh’s lovely 1974 North Vietnamese feature The Little Girl from Hanoi, a film so scarce that I can’t find any stills from it on the Internet to illustrate this post. [Update, 6/13/12: Some stills have subsequently appeared and have been posted with my review of the film, as well as on this page.]

After one of my (American) copanelists remarked that even though “we [sic] lost the war in Vietnam,” the country had a thriving market economy today, and then either he or someone else alluded to America “winning” the Cold War (which provoked an angry riposte from me that if the Cold War had any “winners” at all, these were gangsters on both sides), a Vietnamese diplomat in the audience, who said he was speaking not as a diplomat but simply as a Vietnamese, stated that he thought it was inappropriate to claim that anyone “won” the war in Vietnam. He was right, of course, which got me thinking that the American compulsion to see all of life (and death) in the simplistic terms of sports and games has a lot to answer for. Read more

Three From Vietnam

From the Chicago Reader (May 13, 1994). I’m delighted that stills from these and other Vietnamese films have finally become available on the Internet — which didn’t appear to be the case in October 2010, when I participated in a panel related to the first of these films in Washington, D.C. — J.R.


(A must-see)

Directed by Hai Ninh

Written by Hoang Tich Chi, Hai Ninh, and Vuong Dan Hoang

With Lan Huong, Tra Giang, The Anh, and Kim Xuan.


(A must-see)

Directed and written by Dang Nhat Minh

With Minh Chau, Ha Xuyen, Anh Dung, and Tran Van Son.


(Worth seeing)

Directed by Nguyen Khac Loi

Written by Nguyen Huy Thiep

With Manh Linh, Doan Anh Thang, Hoang Cuc, and Tran Van.

“16 January 1990


“In Powershift [Alvin] Toffler discusses power in its three forms, violence, wealth and knowledge. Now that knowledge is in the hands of everyone, all people, all Nations, television and satellites have forever made it impossible for one group to manipulate the knowledge of what is happening; World television is bringing this vital knowledge to everyone without being diminished. Read more

Gilbert Adair (December 29, 1944 — December 8, 2011)

From Film Comment (March-April 2012). — J.R.

Ever since Gilbert Adair died three weeks short of his 67th birthday, in London, I’ve been rereading him compulsively. And I’ve had a lot to choose from — not only many online articles (including pieces written for this magazine and for Sight & Sound), but all but one of the 18 books listed on the flyleaf of his nineteenth and last, And Then There Was No One: The Last of Evadne Mount (Faber and Faber, 2009) — the final volume in his inspired trilogy of Agatha Christie pastiches, which somehow manage to combine his taste for pop entertainment with his more avant-garde impulses, to riotous effect. Even though I eventually lost touch with Gilbert as a friend — whom I’d met in the early 1970s as a fellow habitué of the Paris Cinémathèque, and who years later was kind enough to broker my friendship with Raúl Ruiz (with whom he worked on several projects, including three that were filmed, and who tragically and prematurely died just a few months earlier) — I remained a steadfast fan who collected all his books.

For Film Comment, Gilbert made his first appearance in an interview with Jacques Rivette, conducted jointly with myself and Lauren Sedofsky for the September-October 1974 issue, available online at http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/1974/09/phantom-interviewers-over-rivette-with-gilbert-adair-and-lauren-sedofsky/ Read more