Friday, April 22, 2016

The Quiet American

Graham Greene is one of my favorite writers. I love how he explored human pain and failure in the context of political abuse. I had seen the movie version of his excellent novel, The Quiet American, but after watching The Seventies segment on Vietnam, was curious to see it again.

It's amazing. Set in Saigon in the mid-fifties during the war between colonial France and the communist.  It tells the story of an older, lapsed Catholic (always Greene's favorite) journalist in Saigon (Fowler) who has a Vietnamese mistress. He becomes distressed when a young American doctor providing medical aid comes into the picture and wants Phuong (his mistress). Both men have very fucked up possessive sexist relationships with her. The "love" triangle becomes more complicated as events in Vietnam intensify and the American's role in the conflict becomes more apparent, as General The rises as the "third way". It's a very beautiful, very haunting and disturbing depiction of United States' early involvement and when it ends with news footage (written by Fowler) through the sixties and the carnage, it's impossible not to be weep.

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