Filmmaker Glenn Silber presents his 1979 documentary The War at Home at the Jean Cocteau Cinema this weekend, its first theatrical run in over 30 years! Telling the harrowing tale of American protesters who stood up against the Vietnam War, the documentary was nominated for an Academy Award upon release and, according to Silber, is just as relevant today. He'll also appear at screenings this weekend to answer questions. We had a few of our own.
Why release this again now?
It's funny—The War at Home was the story of my youth. It was my first effort to try and do a feature documentary, but I think it could have been made today. I think we're right on time. I was inspired by the Santa Fe Women's March; I think The War at Home can speak to what it really means to resist when a president goes off the rails. It's a really good time to put out the story of the anti-war movement. I think a lot of people are concerned, fearful almost, that we'll wind up with some kind of foreign policy disaster. There's an inspiring story of how people can work together to make a difference.
When you were making the film, did you have an audience in mind?
Yes. In my 20s, we had just lived through this incredibly dramatic 10-year period in Madison, Wisconsin, and I felt it was important to show a story of this dramatic period and to try and stop the slaughter of American GIs and millions of Vietnamese. I was reaching out to what I called the 'floating base of the anti-war movement' so we wouldn't forget this trial by fire we all went through.
Do you hope it will inspire younger generations?
My message, I guess, is how we built and made a difference in helping during the war. We're in a situation where people can look at that experience and hopefully feel it's the foundational experience that can get us going with the current president.