For many Vietnamese veterans the war hasn’t yet ended. They still suffer from the effects of the poisonous defoliant Agent Orange. The documentary film “Lighter than Orange” tells their story.

Between 1961 and 1971, the US military used several chemical herbicides and defoliants to clear sensitive areas of forested land and deprive the enemy of food and cover. Companies such as Dow Chemical and Monsanto produced the chemicals of which a total of 73 million liters were sprayed in the region using helicopters and airplanes.

About two-thirds of the herbicides employed by the US military contained highly toxic dioxins which caused damage not only to Vietnamese and US soldiers, but also to the soil where they have persisted to this day, resulting in the poisoning of numerous people. In Vietnam alone, an estimated three million people are suffering the consequences, which range from cancer and deformities to genetic mutations which are passed on to the next generation.

Matthias Leupold’s film “Lighter Than Orange” documents both the horrors of the war and the never-ending suffering of 12 Vietnamese veterans and their families. They live, at least temporarily, in the so-called Friendship Village, an international project aiming to help repair the damage caused by the use of Agent Orange. In a DW interview, the documentary filmmaker speaks about the idea behind the film.


Read more at: Deutsche Welle (english)