Out of all the Vietnamese films I saw at this year's LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, the only one stood out was Father and Son (Cha Cõng Con). The other three films were rather tamed in my opinion. This article was written back in May immediately after I watched it in theater. I've wanted to hold off on it until father's day. Father and Son's familiar tear-jerking story mostly appeals to older audience but everyone should check it out for the stunning cinematography and nostalgic elements.
Whenever Vietnamese cinema is discussed, it's often criticized as having "notoriously stiff acting", "horrible script" and "embarrassing special effects". Maybe these criticisms are true but there are many great Vietnamese films upstaged by these bad reputations.
In this article of Vietnamese Cinema, we spotlight 20 films that really deserve more attention. Please note, the first 10 films are made by domestic filmmakers in Vietnam, and the next10 are by overseas Vietnamese called Viet Kieu. ...continue reading →
It's been almost a year since the documentary "Terror in Little Saigon" had ignited emotional reactions from the Vietnamese community. Some were against the film and others were supportive of restoring the investigation of the murders of five Vietnamese-Americans. Blames were hurled and petitions were created from both sides. The film's opponents scolded that it would irrevocably damage the image of Vietnamese enclaves as peaceful and thriving. Proponents pointed fingers at their own people for being passive and ignorant at the crimes. Facts were upstaged by false pride, a cloak for insecurity. The pursuit of truth was a license to exploit the subjectivity of the past. Silence has always been the residue of shame and guilt.
“Ăn Quả Nhớ Kẻ Trồng Cây", a Vietnamese proverb that means when eating a fruit remember who planted the tree. Not only do we remember our benefactor but we have to re-pay that generosity by planting new trees for others. With the current Syrian refugee crisis, it hits home to many Vietnamese Americans who’d been there before. A quick Google search shows heart wrenching images of Syrian civilians’ plight for freedom mirroring the Vietnamese boat people after the Vietnam War. It’s important for Vietnamese Americans to voice their concern over this emergency even though we are only a minority. Our actions do make a difference. We were on the same boats as the Syrians now, only we were a little luckier. What we do as American minority now is crucial to our future in this country. We can no longer stay silence and passive in politic. We have an obligation to at least do something. We must plant the seed for this tree that will grow.
I saw an article from Yahoo news the other day about why so many Viets work in the nail industry. I've always wonder about this since I have family, relatives, and friends who work with the trade. It turns out that Tippi Hedren, the famous Hollywood actress in a couple of Hitchcock films, inspires the start of it all. A very long time ago, while she was helping Vietnamese women refugees at Camp Hope, they saw her nails and were enamored by them. That adoration breathed life into the then unpopular industry. No doubt Michelle Phan should call Tippi grandma and pay her loyalty fees. Anyhow, that's how a lot of Vietnamese people got into the nail industry.
Trương Quế Chi's film Black Sun (2013) will be screened at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen in the International Competition Program. The date is 6/05/2014 and the location is the Lichtburg Filmpalast theater in Oberhausen, Germany. I don't know what the time is. If anyone is in the area, check that film out. It's an amazing short film! I saw it at Yxine's website when they put it up. The film is taken down at the moment due to distribution acquisition. ...continue reading →
Back in November 2013 there was an article from Than Nien News on an interview with Dang Di Phan, the director of Bi, Don’t Be Afraid – an acclaimed Vietnamese art film. In the interview, he revealed some current challenges faced by the fledgling Vietnamese film industry. One of which is the lack of support for young film directors. Follow the link to read the full interview. ...continue reading →
Just saw a couple of horror movie trailers from Vietnam. One is Ham Tran’s Đoạt Hồn (Hollow) and the other from Victor Vu which is called Quả Tim Máu (Vengeful Heart). Both films look great and feel pretty freaky, especially Hollow, which is about a little girl who is brought back to life by witchcraft, I think. Little girls in horror movies are always so scary. Here are a couple more films that are as creepy. ...continue reading →
Wow! This story blows me away. It's an extraordinarily sad story being told in this documentary film programed by The Al Jazeera Network as a part of their "World Documentary Series". It's about the struggle of the families of Moroccan soldiers who have fought on the French's side during the First Indochina War. ...continue reading →
It's that time of year. The Vietnamese Department of Cinematography is releasing another tiring and cliche ridden film on the Vietnam war. According to a review by Do Thuy Linh, a film critic from Thanh Nien Daily News, this film has an excess of explosion, a confusing plot, and skeletal character development.