REVIEW SPARKS OUTCRY

Some readers accuse film critic of racism

— Sarah Taylor
via e-mail

Comments made by Mr. Scott Foundas prove that he never had a chance to live with the communists—therefore, he will not be able to comprehend the atrocity of that regime against the propaganda that they expose to the world.

— Lisa T. Randolph  
via e-mail

How DARE you call the film "phony." There are millions of stories that are worse than what is depicted in the film. This is a war against the Vietnamese community and a slap in the face. We will organize a major protest against OC Weekly for writing this article and stating that it is a PHONY story.

— Tuan Nguyen
via e-mail

Journey from the Fall is not just a dreamt up story, but this film depicts the actual experiences of millions of Vietnamese refugees. The comment on the film is an insult the true hardships that our people have had to endure, and it must not be taken lightly. 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 communist 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.

— Jenny Phung
via e-mail

 It is disappointing that in Orange County, home to one of the largest Vietnamese communities outside of Vietnam, that there wasn't more insight and sensitivity taken in crafting the film review of Ham Tran's Journey from the Fall. To dismiss the film's depiction of the reeducation camps as phony and overdramatic, when clearly the director had taken great pains to recreate historical events, is certainly troubling and smacks of ethnocentrism. I understand that perhaps the reviewer is tired of seeing international atrocities on the screen, that perhaps Mr. Foundas has seen this all before, but the fact is these words, images and actions are seared into the memories of many surviving Vietnamese refugees. They wouldn't find the reeducation camp scenes as declamatory or movie-of-the-week at all. If Mr. Foundas would prefer to watch more innovative filmmaking by studio directors such as Mr. Eastwood, that's fine. But I still find value and meaning in Mr. Tran's  depiction.

Aimee Phan
via e-mail

To the editors: Because of racist articles like the one by Scott Foundas for his review of the movie Journey of the Falls [sic], I will stop reading OC Weekly and will actively encourage others to stop reading OC Weekly and to write to the advertisers of the OC Weekly that if they patron OC Weekly then I will stop buying their products.  For Scott Foundas to call the movie phony is a slap to the face of the millions of Vietnamese who lived the horrors of the Vietnam War.  Would Scott Foundas call a movie about the Holocaust phonyt? Of course not, because the Jewish groups of the world would be upon him. Were the editors of OC Weekly asleep or did they share the same mentality as Scott Foundas in his regards to this depiction of the war as "phony"? I will actively encourage other people to boycott this site and to write to your advertisers to boycott OC Weekly.

— Jimmy Chan
via e-mail

I am deeply offended by certain comments made by Scott Foundas in his review of the movie Journey From the Fall. Specifically, he claims that director Tran's use of "declamatory political dialogue" is "phony," which implies that the propaganda speeches hurled at the characters in the movie is just hyped-up fiction. Quite to the contrary, I know from numerous relatives who were trapped in re-education camps in Vietnam that these were exactly the type of speeches they were forced to memorize, and that this movie very faithfully depicted their true horrendous experiences after the departure of American troops from Vietnam. Scott Foundas is free to negatively review any movie he wants to, but to call the political dialogue used in this movie "phony" is tantamount to claiming that those things didn't really happen.  Such ignorant attitudes affect the Vietnamese community deeply, and in particular it has the effect of negating the suffering experienced by survivors.  It is bad enough to suffer in a re-education camp, and then to have someone say that it didn't really happen is just plain ignorant and hurtful.  It reminds me of the experience of Holocaust survivors around the world who face people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. With just a few keystrokes, Scott Foundas has managed to invalidate the suffering of an entire community. I suspect he did not intend to do this, and perhaps did not realize that this is exactly what happened to hundreds of thousands of people left behind. I urge Scott to apologize for the unintended, but lasting and hurtful impact of his comments.

— Paul Nguyen, M.D.
Boston, MA

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