The Cu Chi tunnels (1990)
by Mickey Grant
Cu Chi Tunnel is 70 km from Ho Chi Minh City in the Northwest. It is miniature battle versatile of Cu Chi’s military and people during the 30-year struggle longtime and fierce to fight invading enemy to receive independence, freedom for motherland. It also is the special architecture lying deeply underground with many stratums, nooks and crannies as complex as a cobweb, having spares for living, meeting and fighting with total lengths over 200 km. Real legends coming from the Tunnel are over human imaginativeness. Creeping down into the tunnel, only some yards, you can find out why Vietnam? A tiny country could defeat its enemy, the large and richest country in the world. Why Cu Chi, a barren and poor land could face strongly for 21 years to the army crowded many times compared with its force, warlike and equipped modern war weapons and means. In the fight, Cu Chi people won illustriously. Thanks to systems of tunnel ways, fortifications, combat trenches, soldiers and people of Cu Chi fought very bravely creating glorious feat of arms. The American invaders at first time stepped into Cu Chi land, they had to face so fierce resistances from tunnels from important and very difficult bases that they cried out, “Underground villages”, “Dangerous secret zone”, “cannot see any VC but they appear everywhere”… With its war pasture, Cu Chi Tunnels become a historical war hero of Vietnamese People like a 20th century legend and famous land in the world.
Cu Chi Tunnels have two places:
Ben Duoc Tunnels is Zone Party Committee Base & Saigon – Gia Dinh Military Zone, which is protected in Phu Hiep Hamlet, Phu My Hung Village, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City.
Ben Dinh Tunnels is Cu Chi District Party Committee, which is protected in Ben Dinh Hamlet, Nhuan Duc Village, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City. Coming to Ho Chi Minh City, you should visit Cu Chi Tunnels Historical Monument to understand what the protracted and arduous struggle is. You will evidence clearly and directly an exploit of loving peace, independence and happiness at the present.
During the war in Vietnam, thousands of people in the Vietnamese province of Cu Chi lived in an elaborate system of underground tunnels. Originally built in the time of the French colonial occupation, the tunnels were enlarged during the American presence. When Americans began bombing Cu Chi, the survivors went underground and based their operations against the Americans, often underneath American camps. Hidden beneath destroyed villages were hospitals where children were born and surgery was performed on casualties of war; underground were schools and public places where lovers met. There were even theaters with song and dance and traditional stories. The Cu Chi Tunnels is a disquieting film to watch if you were a direct enemy of these people. For you, it might not be easy to watch old guerillas bragging about the number of Americans they killed. But when these same guerillas talk of their fear of "the deep eyed people" with their magic weapons, and about the girls they loved, and how the darkness of the tunnels was like an endless night - then these people might become very human to you. The film becomes a film not about killing and darkness, but about light and love and the power of the human spirit. Vietnamese with English subtitles.
This film was the first to be shot in Vietnam since the war ended. Director Mickey Grant started shooting it in 1986 on 16mm film and it premiered on 35mm film at a Saigon theater in 1990 with all the cast of former Viet Cong present and ended with a standing ovation that lasted over 30 minutes. During the war in Vietnam, thousands of people in the Vietnamese province of Cu Chi lived in an elaborate system of underground tunnels. Originally built in the time of the French, the tunnels were enlarged during the American presence. When the Americans began bombing the villages of Cu Chi, the survivors went underground where they remained for the duration of the war. The secret tunnels, which joined village to village and often passes beneath American bases, were not only fortifications for Viet Cong guerillas, but were also the center of community life. Hidden beneath the destroyed villages were schools and public spaces were hospitals where children were born and surgery was performed on casualties of war: underground were schools and public spaces where couples were married and private places where lovers met. There were even theaters where performers entertained with song and dance and traditional stories. THE CU CHI TUNNELS, a Mickey Grant film, is the story of life underground told by the people who lived the experience. It is a story told by a surgeon, an artist, and actress, an engineer, and the few survivors of the guerilla band who left the tunnels each night to fight against an enemy of vastly superior strength. Attached to the guerilla bands were Viet Cong documentary cameramen and camerawomen whose footage of the war from the Vietnamese point of view and of love, life and death in the tunnels has survived and is used in the film. This extremely rare footage povides a fascinating kind of echo; we see and hear an actress perform in the wartime tunnels and then hear her describe the experience nearly thirty years later.
You may purchase DVD by contacting Mickey Grant at [email protected]