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23

WEDNESDAY

Before Platoon opened the gates of collective memory, one of the most visceral cinematic accounts of the Vietnam War had already been made. Shot during the last days of the war, Land of Sorrows is powerful and disturbing, in part because its fictionalized account of a Hue family buffeted by war often brushes the perimeter of documentary. The film was never released commercially, probably because neither the timing nor the emphasis seemed right to distributors at the time. The 1975 movie was made—in wide-screen CinemaScope—by a Vietnamese director, Ha Thuc Can, and doesn’t concern itself with the Americans or larger geopolitical issues. If the family story now seems a bit schematic—one member is an army officer, another a shirker—the sense of place and time remains forceful. At 6:30 p.m. at the American Film Institute National Film Theater, in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of States. $7. (202) 833-2348. (MJ)