SJFS Screening “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision” on December 9


 St. John Film Society (SJFS) kicks off the 2014-2015 film season with the screening of “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision” on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m. at St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay.

The Vietnam Memorial was one of the most controversial monuments of its time. Thrust into the eye of the storm was architect-sculptor Maya Lin, whose design for the memorial was chosen in 1981 when she was a 21-year-old college student. Withstanding bitter attacks, she held her ground with clarity and grace.

Lin’s starkly simple polished black granite inscribed with the 57,661 names of those who died in Vietnam was viciously attacked as “dishonorable,” “a scar,” and “a black hole,” but Lin remained committed to her vision, and the Memorial, a moving tribute to sacrifice and quiet heroism, was built as planned. Since then, Lin has completed a succession of eloquent, startlingly original monuments and sculptures that confront vital American social issues. Freida Lee Mock’s Academy Award winning feature documentary follows a decade in the life of this visionary artist.

The film opens with footage chronicling the hailstorm that followed the selection of Lin’s unconventional design. Political commentator Patrick J. Buchanan and Illinois Republican Representative Henry Hyde led the fight, circulating letters alleging that one of the jurors on the selection committee was a communist and that four had been active anti-war protestors.

Lin withstood the personal and artistic attacks and she prevailed with her original design. “The Memorial would not have been built without her central position in the fight to maintain the integrity of that design… It was her single-minded devotion to what she thought was right,” declares Mock. The Memorial’s dedication in 1982 was a profoundly cathartic moment — not just for those who fought in Vietnam, but for the entire nation. Since its completion, Americans have flocked to the site to grieve, to contemplate the consequences of war, and to heal.

“If you can’t accept death, you’ll never get over it,” says Lin. “So what the Memorial’s about is honesty… You have to accept, and admit that this pain has occurred, in order for it to be healed, in order for it to be cathartic… All I was saying in this piece was the cost of war is these individuals. And we have to remember them first.”

There is a suggested donation of $5 or become a St. John Film Society Member ($35 for individuals / $50 for families).

SJFS is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Virgin Island Council on the Arts and St. John Community Foundation.

For more information contact St John Film Society or