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Scene from UXO - UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE (photo © Julia Weingarten)

Irregular high-pitched squeaks drown out the sounds of nature while Bay crawls slowly through the brushwood. Highly focused, the 19-year-old moves the metal detector close to the ground from right to left, left to right – his eyes following its movement. Slowly, the reason for his actions reveals itself. Here in the province of Quang Trị – the bitterly embattled borderline of the Vietnam War – Bay, together with 40 recruits, is on the lookout for mines and bombs, which caused havoc nearly 30 years ago and continue to claim victims to this day.

Besides their dangerous duty, Bay and his comrades are just ordinary boys who, for two years, spend their days in the isolation of a military camp. Just before the military service, Bay fell in love for the first time and now he waits for a letter from his girlfriend every day.

Inside the camp, a surrogate family has developed. Secret excursions at night and hidden smoking behind the washhouse are timid attempts to feel a bit of freedom. On the harsh threshold between the youthful love of adventure and the responsibility of a soldier, friendships have been made. The boys tell each other of their anxieties, dreams and longings.
Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2010
Director Julia Weingarten
Cinematography Julia Weingarten
Lale Özdönmez
Cast Hoàng Kim Bay, Vo Thanh Phuong, Le Phuoc Khai
Producer Julia Weingarten
Production Company Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF
Runtime 71 min
Format HDCAM, color, 1:1.78
Subtitled Versions German, English
Sound Technology Dolby Surround
Festivals Kassel Documentary & Video Festival 2010, Montreal 2011, Zurich 2011
With backing from SODI - Solidaritätsdienst-international e.V.

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