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
My favorite animated movie of all time is Bambi. It has a profound impact on me even when I was a child. I saw it on a black and white TV in my village and remembered that I cried during the scene where Bambi’s mother got killed by human hunters. After that my family had a puppy and I called him Bambi. ...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.
You can read the full review here.
THE SOUND WE SEE: A HANOI CITY SYMPHONY
This is from early last year. At Doclab there was a screening for a film project made by 18 local filmmakers. Shot with 8mm cameras and hand-processed at Doclab, the film was shown with a live soundtrack. Click here for more details. http://hanoigrapevine.com/2014/01/film-screening-manzi-sound-see-hanoi-city-symphony/
It's FREE and has racked up over 50k USD of ad revenue and still counting. 50,000 us dollars, let see who many zeros that is in Vietnamese Dong. Well, the producer of the game Dong Nguyen says he's lucky. He made the game back in 2013 but it's been unnoticed until now. ...continue reading
Let start the New Year with the recent and epic futuristic/romantic/Waterworld-like film from director Nguyen Minh Vo. He's been making this film forever and finally a teaser's been shown on Facebook 4 days ago from today. I found the film trailer on Vimeo uploaded by the cinematographer, Bao Nguyen. The film will have its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. I’m very excited for this film from the director of Buffalo Boy - one of my favorite films. As a matter of fact, NOUC is the Vietnamese word for "water" and for "nation", so I'm stoked to see what kind of metaphor the director can pull off. Check out the trailer below.
I first heard about T. Kim Trang Tran at the Flaherty Film Seminar many years ago and have been fascinated with her work. She’s been making experimental films since the early 90s and is one of the only three accomplished Vietnamese experimental filmmakers that I’m aware of in the US. The others are Trinh Minh Ha and Nguyen Tan Hoang. Tran started working on The Blindness Series since she was in graduate school. In an interview, she says that her purpose for making these films is to address the fear of blindness and its opposite, which is vision. This motive stems from her inspiration by the philosopher Jacques Derrida and his theory of binary opposition. There are eight films in the series-- Alethaia, Operculum, Kore, Ocularis, Ekleipsis, Alexia, Amaurosis, and Epilogue: The Palpable Invisibility of Life. Each one tackles the theme of vision loss through various social, psychological, historical, sexual, and political issues. What struck me most was how different they are. However, the marriage of style and theme in each film is not arbitrary. For each film's structure fits perfectly with its subject. I didn't see them in order since they each stands on their own. I'm really inspired and compelled to write about the films but I don't just want to write about them in a conventional sense. Add to the fact that I'm not that good at writing and has a bullheaded background in experimental filmmaking. All in all, cinema is a visual and aural art form. You just have to see and hear the films to be moved by them. So I want to play with different ways of writing hoping to do justice to Tran's effective pairing of structure and content. The way that I write each film is different. I played with textual imagery, inverse text, mirror text, hidden text, missing text, and multi-language text to make each method of writing relevant to the theme of each film. I'd like the reader to break out of his/her comfort zone when reading the article and hopefully will try to see the films someday. They are difficult to get but are available from various distributors in the US. Many thanks to Tran and Third World News Reel, I got to see the films and here is what I have seen with my male Vietnamese slanted eyes. ...continue reading
"It was nerve racking. You could never know if harm would come your way or not. The worst part was you just didn't know. So you couldn't do anything. You couldn't plan anything. All was fear. Fear of them knocking on your door and then take you away. And they were always courteous. Asking you what you did during the war. You couldn't even speak to your neighbor without fearing of being a scapegoat, finger pointed, singled out, and sent off to re-education camp." My uncle talks about what it was like after the fall of the South. He recalled walking for miles to get home when the war was declared over with his mangled blistered feet. ...continue reading