Some readers accuse film critic of racism

I am really outraged and annoyed by your review about this movie being phony. How is it phony? You should back up your statement and PLEASE DO MORE RESEARCH. You could say this movie was poorly directed, too long, etc.—but you should not say that it is phony. Where are your facts? This movie reminded me—and maybe others—of how grateful I am to be an American because of the struggles we went through to reach freedom. Next time you make this kind of comment, at least have some facts to back it up.

I am a VM Army captain, doctor, and former prisoner of the "re-education camp," as well as a former U.S. Air Force Captain MC. If Mr. Scott Foundas thinks the director of Journey from the Fall exaggerated the facts and the film is unrepentantly counter-revolutionary, I invite him to meet me, and we will discuss the facts. Where was he in 1975? Did he ever visit a labor camp? Did he ever see my friends die in labor camps? Mr. Foundas, talk about the new Clint Eastwood film [instead].

This is a silly comment about this movie. After I read this article, I strongly believe the writer has no knowledge about anything about Vietnam/Viet Cong. Please don't fool yourself.

Your review violated one of the important rules in journalism: if you simply don't know the facts or [have the] the experience, don't insult the readers by your shamming. Unless you are seriously culturally challenged, I suggest you try to educate/sensitize yourself thoroughly on specific issues before penning more ethnically related articles, or risk being OC Weekly's habitual jester.

Scott uses the word "phony" in the end—what does it mean? Is the movie's story phony? It is not right to use the word phony; the events in the movie happened in reality. Scott, may I suggest you to do some research about Vietnam during the early part of 1975 and after that. OC Weekly, please ensure you have educated writers in the topics they're writing about, as this is an example of what will cause your your company to have bad reputation.

Scott, obviously you have very little knowledge of what was going on in Vietnam since the fall of South Vietnam. Soldiers were fighting until their armo ran out. Many even chose death over being captured by the Communists. After the fall, South Vietnamese soldiers and officers were sent to the so-called "re-education camp." They were told it would be only 10 days, but the truth is people were sent away for years. My dad was one of those. Next time, do some research before putting your foot in your mouth.

Below is an answer from director Ham Tran, which you may have read already. To add to it, I have to say that my wife and I cried through the whole movie, because it is so real and brings up painful memories that we would rather forget. However, it may serve us better to remember them. (Two of my brothers were in the "re-education" camps. After being released from the camp after 10 years, one died a few years later. Both of his kidneys failed. Two others died during the Vietnam war.)

Tran's statement: ". . . It's not that I mind getting a bad movie review,  but to call this film 'phony' is exactly the kind of ignorant mentality that we have had to struggle against in the last 30 years. It is the kind of language that has excluded our community's terrible ordeals from historical consciousness. This reviewer needs to know that what the speech in the re-education camp that the communist official lectures to the prisoners is not what he calls 'declamatory political dialogue,' but they are the actual words lectured by the communists to the re-education camp prisoners. Chu Son, who is the person who plays the communist lecturer, recited that entire speech by heart because it was what the communists forced him to memorize. This speech is by far not 'scripted'; these are the words that he was forced to listen to every night for three years, until they are forever burned into his memory."

The review about Ham Tran's Journey From the Fall is full of ignorance about the ordeal of many Vietnamese. Movies about Martin Luther King or Nixon would not change their historical speeches or words. Moreover, critics would not call such movies old-fashioned or, worse, phony. As a result, Ham Tran's real depiction of the Vietnamese should not be derided in such a manner. He uses the actual words etched into prisoners' minds in the re-education camps. They are real and they are painful. They are not fake, scripted "declamatory political dialogue" as Scott Foundas states.

— Russ Ly
via e-mail

The review is offensive, to say the least.  To imply that this film is "phony" shows a lack of historical literacy on the reviewer's part. He should publicly apologize for the insulting comments. This film is all based on real, true, human stories, so to call it phony is to deny human suffering. His remarks are thoughtless and should not be permitted.

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