Vietnam on Film
the Library of Congress
Compiled by Victoria E. Johnson
This text, made available by the Sixties Project, is copyright (c) 1993 by the Author or by Viet Nam Generation, Inc., all rights reserved. This text may be used, printed, and archived in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright law. This text may not be archived, printed, or redistributed in any form for a fee, without the consent of the copyright holder. This notice must accompany any redistribution of the text. The Sixties Project, sponsored by Viet Nam Generation Inc. and the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, is a collective of humanities scholars working together on the Internet to use electronic resources to provide routes of collaboration and make available primary and secondary sources for researchers, students, teachers, writers and librarians interested in the 1960s.
The Embassy of South Vietnam Collection
With the fall of the South Vietnamese government on April 30, 1975, officials at the Embassy of the former Republic of Vietnam in Washington, D.C. were left with the hurried task of closing and dismantling the embassy. In the process, 527 reels of 16mm film were given to the Library of Congress. All were produced in South Vietnam. Although some of the films were received in multiple copies, the collection is mainly comprised of unique items which fell into four categories:
- newsreels; the largest category, each about 10 minutes long, spanning the 1960's; about half have english-language narration.
- short documentaries; primarily a series entitled VIETNAM DOCUMENTARY, produced by the Freedom Films company in the mid 1950s; each about 10 minutes long.
- overt or "hard" propaganda; of varying lengths; mostly from the 1960s.
- miscellaneous/unedited/unidentified footage; about 17 items.
The collection has been fully inventoried. But because the collection is yet uncataloged, the in-house inventory of all titles in alphabetical order serves as the only access point. Because so many of the titles may exist only in the Library of Congress, they have been designated "archival prints" and as such may not be screened until viewing copies are made. At this date, about 100 of the titles are viewable.
A thorough description of the South Vietnam Collection, its contents, condition, and historical background can be found in Sarah Rouse's article, "South Vietnam's Film Legacy," in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. v. 6, no. 2 (1986), 211-222.
Ms. Rouse is a film and television cataloger in the Division. Copies of her article are kept in the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room.