In the spring of 1968, Pilots in Pajamas, a four-part five-hour documentary mini-series about the war in Vietnam, premiered on East German television. Directed by the state filmmakers and long-time collaborators Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann, the film is organized around a series of interviews with 10 American POWs held in the Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi. This epic work offers a rare glimpse into the prison itself from the perspective of an East Bloc country. The East German context is likewise of particular interest in this film, which draws an extended exegesis about the realities of anonymous militarized warfare and Germany’s own Nazi legacy. The film was unavailable to English-speaking audiences until its DVD release in winter 2014.
Hosted by the Center for Documentary Arts and Research and the Socialism / Postsocialism Research Cluster, this event features two of the film’s four parts, as well as a selection of short films made by Heynowski and Scheumann in opposition to the Vietnam War.
The event will culminate in a round-table discussion featuring UC Santa Cruz faculty and graduate students, including:
Hunter Bivens (Associate Professor in Literature)
Jenny Horne (Assistant Professor in Film and Digital Media)
Jonathan Kahana (Associate Professor in Film and Digital Media)
Sara Blaylock (PhD Candidate, Visual Studies PhD program)
Ellen Takata (Graduate Student, Visual Studies PhD program)
Benjamín Schultz-Figueroa (PhD Candidate, Film and Digital Media PhD program) will moderate the event.
The screening schedule is deliberately divided into parts, so please feel free to drop in for one or both films.
2:00pm: “Yes, Sir”
3:30pm: Break with coffee and snacks; Short films will be screened
4:00pm: “The Thunderchiefs”
5:30pm: Roundtable discussion
This event is free and open to the public.