Review: Lighter than Orange

Posted By admin on April 7, 2015 2:26pm

By Alexia Amoriello.

Although there are quite a few outstanding documentaries pertaining to the Vietnam War, Matthias Leupold’s Lighter than Orange manages to rise above the rest. There is something about Leupold’s documentary that feels unbelievably personal. The film provides people who were and still are affected by Agent Orange with the opportunity to speak out. Leupold captures these individual stories with such a delicate intimacy that truly exposes the horrifying reality of the situation.
The men and women who share their stories in Lighter than Orange are exceptionally strong and valiant, but above all they are survivors. Yet these heroic men and women survived a long and brutal war only to be hit with even more devastation as they ultimately discovered that the dioxin-infested war fields severely altered their DNA. Four decades have passed since the end of the Vietnam War, but the detrimental effects of dioxin-based herbicides are still a problem today. Rivers and soil are still contaminated by these toxins, which will continue to spread unless other nations band together to help. Thus, Lighter than Orange deals with a subject that is relevant to Vietnam as well as the rest of the world.
Not only have these courageous soldiers dealt with changes to their DNA that have made them more susceptible to severe illnesses, but these genetic mutations have been passed on to their offspring as well. Leupold’s film portrays the children born after the damage caused by Agent Orange, and it is undeniably painful to see a woman who inherited genetic mutations that resulted in half of her body being paralyzed. Not only is it heartbreaking to see children born with genetic mutations, but the film also depicts parents who have had multiple children die shortly after being born.
Yet the disturbing nature of Lighter than Orange is exactly what makes this documentary so powerful and historically significant. Leupold’s film makes these horrifying stories feel terrifyingly real, which is absolutely crucial when making this type of documentary. Leupold does not allow viewers to distance themselves from the film’s subject and he does not attempt to sugarcoat or dilute the perturbing veracity of the matter. The film’s poignant authenticity is what makes Lighter than Orange a must-see documentary.
Nevertheless, Lighter than Orange is more than just a documentary about a pertinent and important topic; it is also an incredibly well made and beautiful film. Leupold’s documentary is expertly edited and the cinematography is utterly breathtaking. Lighter than Orange is unlike any other documentary about the Vietnam War and should be considered mandatory viewing when learning about this subject. Moreover, Lighter than Orange is an extraordinarily genuine and enlightening work of art.
Lighter than Orange is an official selection of the New York City Independent Film Festival and will be screened at the festival on October 12-18, 2015.

News Archives

Review: Lighter than Orange

Review: We Break Things

Review: By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story

Prizes announced to the 2015 Award Winners

Review: The Giving Tree

Review: Atomic City

Review: Dinner and a Movie

Review: The Way of Tea

Review: Salvation

Review: Keeper of the Past

Review: John Dablovski Reality TV Star

'The Interview' Almost Earns Back Production Budget

Bradley Cooper Talks "American Sniper"

Review: Away from the Grasslands

A new way to screen our films

Review: "Karma" by Drink Me Up

REVIEW: Sergei Deych- "Prelude in G# Minor Op. 32 No. 12 by S. Rachmaninoff"

REVIEW: Green Gerry- “La La Lonely Maria”

Review: "Girls Club"

Review: Kentish Fire- In Our Band

Review: CE- Mudra

REVIEW: Cubism: Outside the Box

Review: Bassoon Rap


Review: Currency Affairs

Review: Ronald Gottlieb

Review: How To Be A Human

Review: Frog's Legs


Review: My Big Brother

Review: My Kingdom

Review: Serenity

Review: Sweet Revenge

Review: La Valigia

Review: Dead Over Heels

Review: Prosopon

Film Review: Setting Them Straight

Submissions NOW open for 2018 NYC Independent Film Festival

Prize Update: First Prizes Confirmed

New Partner: Backstage

New Submission Categories

VIP Passes Now On Sale

Prize Update: Best Director

New Partner: Filmatique

VR Experience

New Partner: Peerspace

Film Review: Self Medicated: A Film About Art

Film Review: The Pilgrim: Paulo Coelho’s Best Story

Film Review: Chosen Family

Film Review: The Gospel According To Charlie

Film Review: Blade #1

Film Review: Taichi Mice: Entrance Exam

Film Review: A Broken One

Film Review: Partners

Film Review: Hello Charles

Film Review: Family Dancing

Film Review: Denis and the Zombies

Film Review: One Thousand and One Teardrops

Film Review: Bad Frank

Film Review: Burning Hope

Film Review: Day Six

Film Review: Waiting

Film Review: Bruce

Film Review: Entropic

Film Review: Saturday Night Special

Film Review: Backstory

Film Review: The Wishgranter

In Attendance: New York No Limits Film Screening

Late Deadline for Submissions!

Sundance Film Review: Monsters and Men

Sundance Film Review: The Tale

Sundance Film Review: Pity

10th Annual NYC Indie Film Fest Announcement and 2018 Interviews!

Where Are They Now: NYC Independent Film Festival Highlights

The “Need to Knows” of the NYC Indie Film Festival