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Born with deformed limbs, Chau pursues his dreams by learning to paint with his mouth

Agent Orange was widely used as part of the United States’ herbicidal warfare programme in the Vietnam War, deployed as a means of exposing the positions of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers through defoliation and destroying their crops. These attacks became emblematic of US military recklessness in its interventions in Southeast Asia, leaving massive environmental and humanitarian catastrophes in their wake. Some five decades later, the lasting impact of Agent Orange still reverberates throughout the region, as the chemical dioxin is increasingly believed to be responsible for a wide range of health problems across generations – a claim that the US government largely denies. The short documentary Chau, Beyond the Lines spans eight years in the life of a Vietnamese teenager named Chau, born with deformed limbs believed to be the result of intergenerational Agent Orange exposure, as he chases his dream of becoming an artist despite little encouragement from his caretakers and family. Impressive in its scope and humanity, the film by the US director Courtney Marsh was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2016.

Director: Courtney Marsh

Producer: Jerry Franck

Writer and Executive Producer: Marcelo Mitnik

15 February 2018

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