Home Movies/Out on Digital: May 1
Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War
Vietnam was the quicksand France fell into after World War II and America soon followed. Pulitzer Prize-winner Peter Arnett's documentary is a fair-minded overview of the costly, confused struggle that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, spurred brutality on all sides and rattled the U.S. with protests. The archival footage is fascinating, including unusual views from North Vietnam and U.S. platoons on patrol, along with the expected shots of jungles engulfed by napalm.
Most of the dogs in animal shelters are there through no fault of their own. According to Shelter Me, the economic downturn caused an increase in stray animals abandoned by owners who could no longer afford them. The documentary's focus is on how shelter dogs can be trained as "service dogs," helping autistic children, veterans with PTSD and others to cope with their conditions. A good dog can be as helpful as counseling and has fewer side effects than medication.
Doctors of the Dark Side
Whether at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, and regardless of what the U.S. government called it, American forces tortured Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects—many of them detained on little or no evidence. Directed by clinical psychologist Martha Davis, Doctors of the Dark Side explores the role of military psychiatrists who facilitated torture; among other things, they developed psychological profiles of prisoners to reveal their weak points. Davis reports many disturbing stories. The question remains: Did cruelty gain the U.S. anything?