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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision
Directed by Frieda Lee Mock
Docurama 10/94 DVD/VHS Documentary
Not Rated

The opening scene of this Academy Award-winning documentary directed by Frieda Lee Mock shows sculptor and architect Maya Lin at her drafting table mixed with scenes of visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that she designed. Here is an incisive portrait of a gifted artist whose simple and elegant work has left its mark on these times. Her creative vision is very connected to the earth and the four elements. When Maya Lin talks about her work, she chooses her words carefully and usually says something very thought-provoking.

While she was a 21-year-old Yale undergraduate in 1981, her design was chosen over 1400 others in a competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Yet this V shaped wall of black sliced into the earth elicited a firestorm of protests during which Maya Lin was vilified both as a woman and as an Asian. Backed by the veterans who sponsored the project, she stood her ground. She wanted to create a quiet and healing place where families and friends of those who died in the Vietnam war could spend time in personal reflection and private reckoning. Today the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is accepted as a great work of art.

Maya Lin talks about her childhood in the Midwest and pays tribute to her China-born parents for giving her an appreciation of art, creativity, and a deep respect for the environment. The documentary also includes a segment on the artist’s Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama; a fountain at Yale; and several other projects. The DVD contains a biography of the filmmaker, interactive menus, and scene selections.


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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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