Full Metal Jacket: Context Research

  • The exact dates aren’t known as there was no declaration of war, however it is widely believed that the war started on November 1st 1955 and ended on the 30th April 1975, lasting for roughly 20 years, or 19 years and 180 days more precisely.
  • The war ended in a North Vietnamese victory, with the withdrawal of American forces, which allowed the Viet Cong to take important locations such as Cambodia and Laos, eventually South Vietnam was Annexed by the North
  • The deaths of Viet Cong military and civilians is thought to range around 533,000 people, while a total of 1,450,000 people are thought to have died during the conflict


Subject: The subject of this photograph are the children running away from the Napalm attack, most notably our gaze is drawn to the nude girl in the centre of the image, who has had her clothes burned off by the napalm.

Composition: The image seems to take the rule of thirds into account, with more being seen on the upper right hand side of the picture than the dead centre. The vanishing point follows the road into the fog of war. I don’t think it’s quite a One Point Perspective image, as the road heads away at an angle and there isn’t a clear centre focus, but it’s close.

Impact: It’s quite an emotional image, seeing the civilians caught up in this war they never wanted and how it’s ruining their lives. The way the US soldiers in the background walk so casually as if they don’t care about the plight of the people they’re supposedly fighting to protect.

Full Metal Jacket: Context Research

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