Peoples, Culture, and History of Southeast Asia
Extra Credit Opportunity: The Quiet American
The Quiet American is a film portrayal of Graham Greenes famous novel of the same name, based on observations he made while spending time in Vietnam during the First Indochina War. It depicts increasing, covert U.S. involvement in Vietnam in the early 1950s, more than a decade before the beginning of what we now call ‘The Vietnam War in the U.S. The film is available on amazon.com instant play and other on-line sites.
For this assignment, you are required to watch the film carefully, taking notes along the way, and then answer the following questions. Do not ‘cut-and-paste on-line reviews of the film this is plagiarism and will result in zero points for the assignment and a possible ‘F for the semester, as well as disciplinary action from the university.
You may, of course, watch the film with a friend or friends, but your answers must be your own, in your own words (not just a few words substituted here and there papers that are nearly identical in their answers will all receive zero points).
The assignment is worth a maximum of 10 points extra credit, and it is due by Thursday, December 3rd. Late assignments will not be accepted under any circumstances; dont ask.
1) What year is the movie set in, and where does the year place the movie in terms of the time span of the First Indochina War, i.e., early stages of the war, later stages, etc.?
2) Early in the movie, after Pyle and Fowler have just met, they are walking down a street in Saigon and Pyle is saying that Vietnam needs ‘democracy. What is Fowlers reaction to this statement, and who does he say would be elected if Vietnam had a democratic election?
3) What happens when Fowler journeys up to Phat Diem and goes on patrol with French soldiers? What does he see, and whom do the French soldiers blame for what has happened? What is Fowlers response re: where to place the blame?
4) Who is General Thé, and what is Pyles/the U.S.s relationship with him and his so-called ‘Third Force?
5) Towards the end of the movie, Fowler is sitting at his usual spot at a sidewalk table across the street from the ‘milk bar that Phuong frequents. A pivotal event occurs: what happens, and most importantly, what is unusual (and symbolic) about Pyles actions at this at this scene? What is revealed about Pyle?
6) After the movie has ended, reflect back on the three main characters. Graham Greene clearly intended the characters to symbolize larger themes, i.e. Pyle representing America and American attitudes, Fowler representing Anglo-European ‘old ways and colonialism, and Phuong representing Vietnam. Discuss each characters attitudes, motivations, and behaviors in terms of the larger symbolism of their respective roles (this will be the longest response of the six questions).