The 317th platoon, made in 1965 about the last days of the French Indochina war is an odd film. A French platoon is retreating through the jungle of Laos, followed by Vietminh. Without nostalgia it marks the end of 500 years of European conquest.
There is a fundamental question all colonial powers must answer, regardless of origin and political color: shall we assimilate the natives, exploit them for slavery, or exterminate them?
Asian colonial powers in 2022 will have to ask themselves the same question.
The art of culture is in part to ask questions like these, to make the audience question assumptions and tell stories that contradict official or informal narratives, but also to do it in a way that is inspiring enough to keep the audience watching/listening/reading.
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