Friend or Foe? The Vietnam War

Discussion Session 4 — Friend or Foe? The Vietnam War
Saturday, March 24, 10:00am – 1:00pm Belk Library 421

  • The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Apocalypse Now, dir. Francis Ford Coppola

Discuss The Sympathizer. Things to think about: What types of borders does the protagonist navigate and how does that impact his relationships with friends, his homeland, and his political orientation? How does Nguyen’s novel differ from representations of the Vietnam War in Apocalypse Now? From other representations of the Vietnam War that you have encountered? What can we learn about wartime through this alternative perspective? Though the protagonist is from the side we fought against during Vietnam, were there any moments in which you felt you could relate to this character?

As you review Apocalypse Now, think about how borders and boundaries (visual, structural, and thematic) shape the narrative of the film.  Also consider: what elements of home are transported into the setting of Vietnam and how are these portrayed in the film?