Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square

REGRET TO INFORM

 

Year: 1998
Country: USA
Run Time: 72 minutes

"On my 24th birthday I got the news that my husband Jeff was killed in Vietnam" - Barbara Sonneborn at the beginning of this extraordinarily personal screen essay. On the 20th anniversary of his death, Sonneborn undertakes a pilgrimage, going to Vietnam herself to tread upon the defoliated plain where her man fell. Other testimonies join Sonneborn's, the tales and laments of war widows from both North and South Vietnam, from the suburban homes and Navajo reservations of America, and even from teh taped journals of Jeff himself, telling of lives lost and families destroyed, as when Xuan recalls the burning of her village by US-backed troops. "From that moment onward, nothing is black or white. Everything is gray, like the smoke." A 1999 Oscar nominee, REGRET TO INFORM is no dry chronicle or statistical survey of collateral damage, but rather a minefield of wounded emotions and pained remembrance. This year's Festival arrives with a cargo of Vietnam-related features, like the drama "Three Seasons," the documentaries "Return with Honor" and "Vietnam: Long Time Coming." But just as Gaylene PReston's "War Stories Our Mothers Never Told US" (20th CIFF, 1996) revealed WWII from a uniquely feminine angle, so does REGRET TO INFROM present what natives call the "American War," in the voices of women. (Partially in Vietnamese with English subtitles)

Screenplay
Barbara Sonneborn

Director
Barbara Sonneborn

Producer
Barbara Sonneborn, Janet Cole

Cinematography
Daniel Reeves, Emiko Omori, Nancy Schiesari

Editing
Lucy Massie Phenix, Ken Schneider

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