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Regret To Inform
A Vietnam War widow shows us a Vietnam we have never known. While taking us on a strangely beautiful journey by train, this film portrays the lasting devastation of the war as seen through the eyes of an unforgettable group of American and Vietnamese women.
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Regret To Inform

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Running Time
72 minutes

Regret To Inform

In this Academy Award nominee, filmmaker Barbara Sonneborn is compelled to make a brave pilgrimage to the remote Vietnamese countryside where her husband died. She explores the meaning of war and loss on a human level and weaves interviews with Vietnamese and American widows into a vivid testament to the chilling legacy of war. These stories are stirring reminders that the battle scars are life-long, but that shared sorrow can inspire healing and reconciliation.

Filmmaker Notes:

“War is a monster. You let it out of its cage and you can’t tell it how to behave.” I began this journey because I wanted to understand what war does to human beings and their environment. I wondered, what would it be like to have bombs falling in my home town, Agent Orange killing the redwood and oak forests around me, napalm burning the children on their way to school? What is the legacy of war? And what happens after the troops go home? War by its nature is brutal. Young people answer their country’s call and are asked to engage in the business of war: killing. How does it affect a human being to kill another human being, especially a child? Why do some soldiers come back from war and refuse to talk about the experience? What happens to the widows — on both sides of a war — whose husbands don’t come home? Everywhere I went in the United States and Vietnam, widows wanted to become a voice for peace, asking, “What can I do to help end war?” In Vietnam, I heard again and again, “If people could just come here and see what war does, they’d never want to do it again.” My hope in making Regret to Inform is that by hearing these women’s stories from both sides, viewers will begin to see that the enemy is war itself. Former U.S. president and general Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” Maybe that day has come. With hope, — Barbara Sonneborn Producer/Director

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 1999
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