Monday, April 21, 2008

Virtual JFK: Vietnam if Kennedy Had Lived


"Filmmaker and scholar Koji Masutani had to look past Cleopatra's nose to get to the heart of what president John F. Kennedy would have done in Vietnam, had he survived an assassin's bullets in 1963.
In Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived, a world premiere at the Hot Docs film festival (April 17-27), Masutani tackles one of the thorniest what-ifs of modern history: would avowed peacemaker Kennedy have ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War? Or would he have been forced by circumstances to escalate it the way his successor Lyndon B. Johnson did?
"I would be happy as a filmmaker if I can at least get a viewer to seriously consider that the Vietnam War was a war of choice and was not inevitable," the Tokyo-born Masutani, 26, said in a telephone interview.
A visiting fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies in Rhode Island, Masutani begins his film by rejecting the popular "Cleopatra's nose" theory of speculative history. It was defined by 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal, who wrote that if the Egyptian queen hadn't been a beauty, "the whole face of the world would have been changed" because wars wouldn't have been fought in her name."
The official site of the film is here: http://www.virtualjfk.com/
Read about the book and accompanying teacher's guide here: http://www.watsoninstitute.org/project_detail.cfm?id=77
T.

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