What is most interesting about Felix Greene’s new film—Inside North Vietnam, now showing in New York and theatres throughout the country—is that, for all its claims to truthfulness and humane feeling, it employs a strategy of propaganda not radically different from that of the Bell Telephone Hour, and thereby renders itself useless as the documentary it purports to be.
Mr. Greene has taken his camera and produced a montage of half-truth, almost embarrassingly simplistic in his obvious yearning to make a point that is by now common currency. He has thereby perverted his intention, which was presumably to show the North Vietnamese as they are suffering, into a piece of ideological trumpetblaring. Mr. Greene’s method was to interview workers and peasants, a colonel, the Prime Minister, and a captured American flyer, in an effort to “present” their viewpoint to an American audience. Unfortunately, the result is that thanks to both stilted questions and a rather too obvious staging, what emerges is a Prime Minister and a young worker saying virtually the same things in the same language, and an interviewer who looks more the fool for his hyper-sincerity and eager agreeableness. The only in...
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