Making "The Tragedy of Bataan": The Bataan Death March through the Lens of a Filmmaker

in Journal of American-East Asian Relations
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The television and radio documentary "The Tragedy of Bataan" uses extensive interviews with survivors to bring the 1942 Bataan Death March to life for contemporary viewers. The filmmaker, whose father was a POW in the Philippines, describes the process of gathering the interviews and putting them together into a compelling story. She describes the film strategy of having the men and women involved tell the story in their own words, with no historians or experts on camera; explains how a documentary film differs from a written monograph; and explores the constraints set by television and by the television audience. Allowing these participants and eye-witnesses to tell the story conveys their perceptions of the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army, of General Douglas MacArthur, and of the suffering, the humor, and the heroism of the common American soldiers.



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