by Julie Hinds at Detroit Free Press via Military.com
Nearly 50 years ago, a documentary ran for a week in New York before it was pulled from theaters and “poof, disappeared,” as Jane Fonda described it recently.
Now you can see the 1972 film – starring Fonda and her “Klute” co-star Donald Sutherland – via Detroit’s Cinema Lamont virtual screening room. (Available until April 8, 2021, 11:55pm.)
“F.T.A.” chronicles a 1971 variety show that toured southeast Asia with Fonda, Sutherland, and a group of performers who also were anti-Vietnam War activists. It was created as an alternative to the USO tours by Bob Hope, who supported the U.S. government’s involvement in the conflict.
The movie’s title – which could mean “Free the Army” or a version with profanity – is a variation on an Army recruitment slogan, “Fun, Travel, Adventure.” Although the military didn’t want soldiers to see the show, director Francine Parker laced it with footage of enlisted men and women expressing their own objections to the war.Last week, Fonda spoke to Stephen Colbert about the documentary on the CBS “Late Show.”
“We got a group of performer together and we traveled in the fall and winter of 1971 (to) Hawaii, the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan, after we toured the United States, and performed for over 60,000 servicemen,” said Fonda, who faced harsh criticism a year later for visit to the North Vietnam capital of Hanoi.
“We’d been fed this myth that there was the anti-war movement, and then there were the G.I.s, and they hated each other, which was totally not true. Just looking out at the sea of faces, at these solders laughing and applauding and really enjoying the fact we were there, it was just thrilling.”
Cinema Lamont founder and programmer Josh Gardner says the movie, fully restored in 4K by IndieCollect and featuring a new introduction by Fonda, fits with the indie Detroit cinema’s mission to foster cross-cultural understanding through world cinema.
“I think it’s obviously still very resonant today, (with) everything that’s going on with matters of social justice, Black Lives Matter and … the work that Jane Fonda is doing currently with the climate crisis and her Fire Drill Fridays movement,” says Gardner.
“She’s been committed this whole time to social justice, anti-war movements and is still very active today. I think, for her, the fight against … all (these) things that are interconnected has never stopped.”
Besides Fonda and Sutherland, the film features other members of the anti-war show’s cast, including actor Michael Alaimo, singers and activists Holly Near, Rita Martinson, and Len Chandler, and comedian Paul Mooney.
The movie is part of Kino Lorber’s Kino Marquee program, a national effort to create online virtual cinemas for indie theaters that have been closed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gardner says Kino Marquee has been a huge help for Cinema Lamont.
“They were the first ones who reached out to cinemas and offered this new virtual cinema platform. Almost exactly a year ago, none of us knew what virtual cinema was or how long the pandemic was going to last. So they’ve really been a savior.”
“F.T.A.” will be available to screen online at Cinema Lamont starting Friday through April 8.