Cinéma-Vérité at War: Schoendoerffer, Vietnam and the Anderson Platoon
Rizvi, W. R. (2013). Cinéma-vérité at War: Schoendoerffer, Vietnam and The Anderson Platoon. In Phillip Drummond (ed.), The London Film and Media Reader 2: The Pleasures of the Spectacle, London: The London Symposium, pp. 257-65.
Posted: 7 Feb 2020
Date Written: 2013
The Anderson Platoon (1967) directed by the French Director Pierre Schoendoerffer is a black and white cinéma vérité film that offers the realism of the Vietnam War similar to Dziga Vertov’s newsreel footage based on his concept, ‘Kino Pravda.’ Both the French and the Russian techniques aim at revealing a deeper truth that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Schoendorffer chronicles the six week experiences of an American racially-integrated 1st Cavalry infantry platoon combat unit led by a black West Pointer, Lt. Joseph B. Anderson in South Vietnam. The cinéma vérité, a fly-on-the-wall, unobtrusive filming technique is used to avoid the fabrication of a subjective spectacle of war. The cinema truth of The Anderson Platoon reflects real experiences of the real soldiers without making a political comment on war, which challenges the paradox of the official ideologies of war.
Keywords: Vietnam war, international communication, cross-cultural communication, war film
JEL Classification: Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation