CDAR and the Socialism/Post-Socialism Research Cluster co-present a screening and discussion of “Pilots in Pajamas” (1968)

Friday February 19th, 2 PM, Communications 130  (Studio A)

In the spring of 1968, Pilots in Pajamas, a four-part five-hour documentary mini-series about the war in Vietnam premiered on East German television. Directed by the state filmmakers and long-time collaborators Walter Heynowski and Gerhard Scheumann, the film is organized around a series of interviews with ten American POWs held in the Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi. This epic work—the longest in a series the filmmakers would make in the 60s and 70s in opposition to US imperialism in South East Asia—offers a rare glimpse into the prison itself from the perspective of an East Bloc country. The East German context is likewise of particular interest in this film, which draws an extended exegesis about the realities of anonymous militarized warfare and Germany’s own Nazi legacy.

On Friday, February 19 the Center for Documentary Arts and Research and the Socialism/Post-Socialism Research Cluster will host a rare opportunity to watch this film, which until winter 2014 was unavailable to English speaking audiences.

The event will feature two of the film’s four parts, as well as a selection of short films made by Heynowski and Scheumann in opposition to the Vietnam War. It will culminate in a round-table discussion featuring UCSC faculty, including:
Hunter Bivens (Associate Professor in Literature)
Jenny Horne (Assistant Professor in Film and Digital Media)
Jonathan Kahana (Associate Professor in Film and Digital Media)
and graduate students from the Visual Studies PhD program, including:
Sara Blaylock (Visual Studies)
Ellen Takata (Visual Studies)
Benjamín Schultz-Figueroa (PhD Candidate in Film and Digital Media) will moderate the event.

The screening schedule is deliberately divided into parts, so please feel free to drop in for one or both films!

2:00pm: “Yes, Sir”

3:30pm: Break with coffee and snacks; Short films will be screened.

4:00pm: “The Thunderchiefs”

5:30pm: Roundtable discussion

Posted in Archives.