SHOWTIME IN THE TUNNELPLEX

A VISITOR TO VIETNAM UNEARTHS A CINEMA FOOTNOTE TO A LONG-AGO WAR

Like most Americans, I tend to deplore the postmodern moviegoing experience--from the claustrophobic confines of the cineplex to the rowdiness of interactive audiences to the sinister "golden topping" that saturates the reheated popcorn.

I found myself thinking about this recently as I sat in the Saigon office of Le Hong Thanh, a former Viet Cong colonel and now director of a Vietnamese film-distribution company. As always, I was in town on a fault-finding mission, but here in the land of our former enemy, I kept getting derailed by the extravagant civility of my hosts. Thanh, having already provided the twin amenities...

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