Barbara Sonneborn's poignant and heart-affecting documentary was a 1998 Academy Award nominee and a winner of a 1999 Independent Spirit Award. Twenty years after her husband's death in the Vietnam War, she decided to visit the place where he was killed. Sonneborn, a San Francisco multi-media artist, not only presents the stories of other grieving American widows but also includes accounts of wives of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers. Some of the most astonishing moments in the documentary are provided by the filmmaker's translator, Xuan Ngoc Evans, a woman who survived the war's daily doses of fear, pain, guilt, and grief.
The American widows speak out against the thief who stole their husbands; they talk about the loss that will not go away. The Vietnamese widows reveal the devastation of their lives by the bombings, the random murders, and the destruction of their homes and villages. Archival film footage illustrates what they are talking about.
In one of the film's most memorable moments, Sonneborn and her translator make an offering for everyone who died in the war. This simple but moving ritual is an act of solidarity with all those who suffered in the war and were separated by hate, fear, and violence. Regret to Inform is an act of healing itself, a film affirming reconciliation.