Hanoi Cinematheque during July and August featured “Vietnam on Film” every night. We decided to stop over one evening and see a film they were showing on Laos, “The Most Secret Place On Earth”. Here is the short bio on the film:
“The Vietnam War was the most intensely mediated war ever. However, next door in neighboring Laos, the longest and largest air war in human history was underway, which eventually made Laos the most bombed country on earth. This “secret war” was the largest operation ever conducted by the CIA, yet to this day, hardly anyone knows anything about it. Candid interviews with past and present players combined with previously unseen footage from the war as well as the current struggle in Laos tell a story that hasn’t been documented in history books. As we journey into Long Cheng for the first time since the end of the war in 1975, the film tells the gripping story of the operation. The film features interviews with State Department, CIA and Air America officials, as well as Hmong general Van Pao and some of his critics – Fred Branfman and Professor Alfred McCoy.”
For anyone at all interested in Southeast Asian history, has been to Laos, or curious as to why at one point Laos had the most remote, yet busiest airport on the planet, I recommend the film (made in 2008). However I’ll need to follow up with more reading when I get home because it left me with a lot more questions than answers.