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The Whistleblower of My Lai Documentary Film Screening
July 19, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm$15
A special sneak preview of Academy Award-nominated director Connie Field’s newest film. The Whistleblower of My Lai is a unique fusion of opera and documentary that captures Army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson and his discovery and exposure of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The opera features Kronos Quartet, (who will perform during the Cabrillo Festival on Sunday, August 5), and tenor Rinde Eckert. The Whistleblower film screening will be followed by a Q & A session with director Connie Field. Tickets are on sale now!
The opera is created by composer Jonathan Berger and librettist Harriet Chessman, and performed by the Kronos Quartet, tenor Rinde Eckert and master Vietnamese musician, Van-Anh Vo. The richly evocative score by Berger alternates between bursts of dense, frenzied activity and slow, hymn-like harmonies of aching sweetness. The story portrays Thompson in his final days, dying of cancer and desperately trying to make some sense of the events of 40 years earlier. Tenor Rinde Eckert makes Thompson a vivid and poignant character. Each episode is itself neatly framed, with Thompson’s present-day reminiscences fading into the events of 1968. In between are taped snippets of interrogation, in which Thompson’s shameful treatment at the hands of congressional investigators is transformed into a TV game show. The music underscores the drama with unerring clarity. The combined effect is hauntingly beautiful. The creators and performers innermost thoughts on the personal meaning of the Vietnam war, their understanding of who Hugh Thompson was and what he faced blend with the performance. The real horror of the massacre of over 500 Vietnamese civilians by American troops explodes on the screen capturing an historical moment the revelation of which traumatized American society, and lead to questioning the morality of its military.