Sept. 19, 2017
Home / Articles / Cinema / Movie Reviews /  'El ...

'El Salvador: Another Vietnam and Atomic Artist' Review

August 23, 2017, 12:00 am

Pop culture and school curriculum have long collided to make sure modern Americans know the visual landscape of the jungles of Vietnam and the olive drab of the US fighting men during its protracted and life-taking involvement there. But not everyone is mindful that a few years later, our nation’s ceaseless thirst for control led to extensive US support for military leaders in El Salvador amid a vast rebellion from the peasant class.

This documentary double feature from the way-back machine leads off with El Salvador: Another Vietnam which, during its 1981 debut, was an edgy firsthand look at the Central America civil war over the economic stronghold of the coffee oligarchy. Catalyst Media’s crew shot much of the 53 minutes of footage as the story was breaking, from refugee camps and urban warfare campaigns to the streets of Washington, DC, and the halls of Congress. Listen carefully as US Rep. Clarence Long makes his point: “I’m worried about whether this is being done not because it’s needed but because we have an administration that’s made a bunch of macho statements and now feels that it ought to follow through on them.”

Don’t crunch your popcorn too loudly, as the words might become inaudible; old film makes for poor sound quality. But don’t make for the door—settle in for part two, much closer to home. Meet Tony Price, known for his sculptures from the detritus of discarded parts at Los Alamos National Laboratory, who narrates his own story as he picks through a public salvage yard and explains what compels him to create from a legacy of destruction. These 27 minutes from 1982 are interlaced with footage from atomic test sites and artfully presented with the movement and sounds that convey Price’s vision from three sensory paths.

Hear from filmmakers, life partners and now year-round Santa Feans Glenn Silber and Claudia Vianello at showings Friday and Saturday Aug. 25 and 26 at 7 pm. (Julie Ann Grimm)

+ Relevant then, relevant now
- Grainy images and poor sound quality

El Salvador: Another Vietnam and Atomic Artist
Jean Cocteau Cinema,
53 min. and 27 min.


comments powered by Disqus
Fandango Logo


* indicates required
Choose your newsletter(s):

@SFReporter on Instagram