2008 documentary film directed by Janet Gardner.
The Last Ghost of War (2008), the most recent documentary in Janet Gardner and Pham Quoc Thai’s Vietnam trilogy tackles the ongoing controversy and legacy of Agent Orange from the standpoint of Vietnamese victims seeking justice in U.S. courts. A comparatively recent development, possible only after the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo and the partial resolution of American veterans’ claims, the lawsuit exposes the challenged positions of the chemical companies that manufactured the herbicide. The film, through outstanding expert witnesses and a journalistic tone, builds a case that wins the viewer’s sympathy and support.
This clip takes place in Quang Tri province, which has one of the highest concentrations of birth defects in Vietnam, a dedicated doctor pursues dioxin research and a mother worries about the day she’s too old to take care of her three disabled children.
“You can’t call [the village]—there’s no electricity, there’s no phones,” Janet Gardner explains. “We got in our van and just went out there. We arrived at the time when everybody was honoring their ancestors and were all dressed up in their silks. They were extremely gracious, although we hadn’t written a letter [that we were coming]. We tried to be respectful and wait until the end of the ceremony. We found [the mother] Than Thi Dan and interviewed her and her husband. I felt very bad that I made her cry when I asked about her children’s future. Maybe I identified with her as a mother.”