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REGRET TO INFORM

USA, 1998 (MIFF 1999, Documentaries)

Director: Barbara Sonnebron

"My young husband, Jeff, came home from the war in Vietnam in a flag-draped casket. For those soldiers who made it home alive, many were greeted by America's rage. I had to ask. 'What did Jeff die for?' This question haunted my days and night I knew I had to transform his death into as powerful a statement against war as I could."—Barbara Sonneborn

Regret to Inform portrays the lasting devastation of war through the eyes of women. Interweaving archival footage and photographs with present-day images, the film tells the story of a love cut short. An Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary and Sundance Jury Award winner for Best Director and Best Cinematography, Barbara Sonneborn has embarked on a personal odyssey through the country where her young husband fought and died. American and Vietnamese widows speak openly about their grief, anger and the horrors of combat, putting a personal face to the nameless casualties of conflict.

After less than two months in Vietnam, Jeff Gurvitz crawled out of his foxhole during a mortar attack to rescue his radio operator and was killed. Sonneborn learned of his death on her 24th birthday—'We regret to inform you...' began the official notification. Hoping to find some closure to her experience, Sonneborn has developed an as yet under-documented perspective on Vietnam. The viewer is swept along on an exceptionally well-crafted journey,personal but universal.

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