HUFFINGTON POST
02/10/2015 02:58 pm ET Updated Feb 10, 2015

Rory Kennedy's 'Last Days In Vietnam' Draws Attention To A 'Very Dark Moment In Our Nation's History'

Rory Kennedy's "Last Days In Vietnam," an Oscar contender in this year's Best Documentary category, zeros in on the final events of the Vietnam War, highlighting the often overlooked fall of Saigon.

The film profiles the handful of Americans who, with only 24 hours to evacuate and no official exit strategy in place, bravely took up the challenge of moving over 100,000 Vietnamese people out of the imperiled Saigon -- now known as Ho Chi Minh City -- hoping to save their lives as the North Vietnamese army conquered the American resistance.

In a conversation with HuffPost Live on Tuesday, Kennedy, the film's director, spoke on how current events provided an impetus for her to delve deeper into the final accounts of the Vietnam War, specifically the politics of America's swift withdrawal.

"I started making this film 2 1/2 years ago and we were then at the brink of what we thought was getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and I thought there's certainly echoes of what we're experiencing now in [what happened] in Vietnam forty years ago, and we could learn from that," she told host Marc Lamont-Hill.

While Kennedy, who is the daughter of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, admits that the American government had "very few good options" for an unscathed exit, the filmmaker sees the events as teachable moments.

"What that says to me is that the most strategic time to make decisions is before you enter these conflicts, and to really have a plan -- an exit strategy," she explained. "The reality is that you can lose a war, and it stinks to lose ... [but] for the people who live there, it's even more horrific. We leave, and then they pay the consequence."

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