NEW VOICES FROM VIETNAM @ UCLA 11.1.10 – 12.18.10

11.1.10 – 12.18.10
Presented in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Freer & Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution and the Vietnam Cinema Department

American audiences have grown accustomed to seeing films set in Vietnam, though these invariably present the U.S. side of a conflict that the Vietnamese call “the American War.” With a long and rich history that transcends those two decades of conflict—Hanoi celebrates its 1,000th year anniversary this month—and a dynamic population of 70 million—the majority of whom are under 30-years-old—Vietnam is poised to take its place among the world’s rapidly developing nations. Concurrently, an exciting new, post-war generation of innovative young filmmakers is emerging even as some pioneering Vietnamese directors continue to expand their range. As part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ ongoing educational and cultural efforts in Vietnam through its International Outreach Program, the Academy and the UCLA Film & Television Archive have partnered to present a series of new feature, short and documentary films from these exceptional filmmakers.

Special thanks to: Mike DiGregorio, former program officer for the Ford Foundation’s media program in Vietnam.

All films from Vietnam, except where noted, in Vietnamese with English subtitles.

Friday November 5 2010, 7:30PM ( Online Ticket Sales Ended )

(Bi, dung so!)
(2010, Vietnam/France/Germany) Directed by Phan Dang Di

In Phan Dang Di’s impressive debut (winner of two awards at the Cannes International Critics Week), six-year-old Bi’s Hanoi family strains under emotional disconnection. As Bi’s alcoholic father conducts an affair, his neglected mother represses her sorrow and his aunt romantically pursues a teenage boy. But when Bi’s sick and long-absent grandfather moves in, his home life assumes a new emotional center.

Producer: Claire LajourmardNguyen Bao MaiPhan Dang DiOliver Ropke. Screenwriter: Phan Dang Di. Cinematographer: Phan Dang Di. Editor: Julie Beziau. Cast: Tran TienMai ChauNguyen Ha Phong. 35mm, 90 min.

Preceded by…
(2010) Directed by Thien Do

A young man revisits the small attic room in Vietnam where he and his brother played as children, prior to their family’s wartime escape to the U.S. Memories overwhelm him as he relives the results of that tragic voyage, while searching for a lost memento in the floorboards.

HDcam, 20 min.

IN PERSON: Phan Dang Di, Thien Do.

Saturday November 6 2010, 2:00PM* ( Online Ticket Sales Ended )

(2010) Directed by Phan Huyen My

Caught between her traditional upbringing and the rapidly changing social expectations of modern Vietnamese teenagers, a mother battles her daughter’s constant cell phone use, inattention to her studies, and desires to go shopping and to parties, while she must care for her own aging mother in a small urban apartment.

DVcam, 23 min.

(2004) Directed by Phan Thi Vang Anh

In an old district of Hanoi, formerly an outlying village, the neighborhood authority must routinely install and repair the numerous loudspeakers over which civic information and directives are issued. This short documentary offers a humorous look into the role of the government in the every day lives of ordinary people.

DVcam, 32 min.

(2006) Directed by Nguyen Thi Tham

In a small village a teenage boy casually addresses the camera while taking a cigarette break; his life of menial farm labor and big spending on nightclubs and girlfriends contrasts with his elderly grandfather’s fixation on family traditions and rituals, though the affection they share binds them in an uneasy truce.

DVcam, 28 min.

* Please note the early start time.

Saturday November 6 2010, 7:30PM ( Online Ticket Sales Ended )

(2010) Directed by Nguyen Quang Binh

Vietnamese martial arts star (and former “21 Jump Street” heart-throb) Dustin Nguyen delivers a dramatic performance as a man whose hatred for the wife who abandoned him and their two young children poisons all their lives. As they travel the waterways on their houseboat, a bird flu epidemic endangers their way of life. But when the brother and sister, now teenagers, rescue a prostitute from a beating by an angry mob, her presence brings long simmering family tensions to the breaking point.

Based on a novel by Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tu. Producer: Ngo Thi Bich Hanh. Screenplay: Nguy Ngu. Cast: Dustin NguyenDo Thi Hai YenNinh Duong Lan Ngoc. 35mm, 100 min.

Preceded by…
(2010) Directed by Phan Xine


Screenwriter: Phan Xine. HDcam, 21 min.

IN PERSON: Nguyen Quang Binh, Dustin Nguyen, Phan Xine, Do Thi Hai Yen.

Sunday November 7 2010, 7:00PM* ( Online Ticket Sales Ended )

(Trang noi day gieng)
(2008) Directed by Nguyen Vinh Son

In a rural village, schoolteacher Hanh shares a childless and unconventional marriage with her husband Phuong, the school principal, who, with Hanh’s assent, has had sired children with a second wife. When their secret comes to light, the ensuing scandal drives Hanh to desperate measures, revealing the force of Vietnam’s social strictures and the pitfalls of compassion.

Producer: Nguyen Thai Hoa. Screenplay: Thuy Mai-ChauTho Tran. Cinematographer: Trinh HoanNguyen Nam. Editor: Phung Doc Lap. Cast: Anh HongCao de HoangVy Thanh. 35mm, 121 min.

IN PERSON: Nguyen Vinh Son

* Please note the early start time.

Wednesday November 10 2010, 7:30PM

PLEASE NOTE: This event takes place at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. For tickets and directions to the theater, visit or call (310) 247-3600.


This Academy salute, hosted by Phil Alden Robinson, Academy governor and International Outreach Committee chair, includes selected clips from the features screened in this series and a conversation with several of their filmmakers and the legendary Dang Nhat Minh, director of such classic Vietnamese films as When the Tenth Month Comes (1984), Nostalgia for the Countryside (1996) and Vietnam’s 2009 entry to the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award competition, Don’t Burn.

Followed by:
(Mua oi)
(2000, Vietnam/France) Directed by Dang Nhat Minh

A middle-aged man whose emotional and mental development ended at adolescence becomes obsessed with a guava tree in the yard of his childhood home. When he is arrested after scaling a fence at his former house, he forms a unique relationship with the daughter of the powerful civil servant who now lives there.

Producer: Dang Nhat MinhThuy Vinh Nguyen. Screenplay: Dang Nhat Minh. Cinematographer: Vu Duc Tung. Cast: Bai Binh BuiLan Huong NguyenThu Thuy Pham. 35mm, 100 min.

IN PERSON: Dang Nhat Minh, Phan Dang Di (Bi, Don’t Be Afraid); Nguyen Quang Binh (Floating Lives); Bui Thac Chuyen(Adrift), Stephane Gauger (Owl And The Sparrow); Nguyen Vinh Son(The Moon at the Bottom of the Well); La Than Son (Clash); Phil Alden Robinson, Academy governor and International Outreach Committee chair.

Friday November 12 2010, 7:30PM ( Buy Ticket )

(Choi voi)
(2009, Vietnam/France) Directed by Bui Thac Chuyen

Newlywed Duyen’s hopes for the future are dashed when her new husband proves unable to consummate their marriage. Duyen confides in her girlfriend Cam, who steers her to a mysterious, handsome suitor and Duyen is forced to reconsider long-cherished notions of love, family and fulfillment. Bui Thac Chuyen’s impressive second feature is a sensuous, provocative study of identity in modern Hanoi.

Producer: Dang tat BinhClaire-Agnès Lajournard. Screenplay: Phan Dang Di. Cinematographer: Ly Thai Dung. Cast: Do Thi Hai YenLinh-Dan PhamJohnny Tri NguyenDuy Khoa Nguyen. 35mm, 101 min.

Preceded by:
(2006) Directed by Bui Kim Qui

A peasant waits in vain for the important New Year’s visitor who will bring honor to his home throughout the coming year.

DVcam, 9 min.

IN PERSON: Bui Thac Chuyen, Phan Dang Di, Do Hai Yen.

Saturday November 13 2010, 2:00PM* ( Buy Ticket )

(2004) Directed by Doan Gia Man

A heartbreaking story captured in a lovely cinema-verité style, this film observes the struggles of a poor farmer forced to try his luck as a day laborer on the harsh streets of Hanoi, far from his wife and children.

DVcam, 25 min.

(2006) Directed by Tran Phuong Thao

Huge multi-national corporations are building factories in Vietnam and cheap labor must be found to work them. In this startlingly honest film, young women from the countryside live in workers’ shacks in the shadows of giant industrial plants, sharing their lives of long hours and brutal disappointment.

DVcam, 47 min.

(2009) Directed by Trinh Dinh Le Minh

As capitalism comes to Vietnam, one group of neighbors in a collectively owned building debate the ramifications of selling out to a foreign company, a move that would drastically alter their community and the economic relationships between them.


DVcam, 56 min.

* Please note the early start time.

Saturday November 13 2010, 7:30PM ( Buy Ticket )

(Bay rong)
(2009) Directed by Le Thanh Son

A recent hit in Vietnam, this action-packed genre spectacle pairs The Rebel co-stars Johnny Tri Nguyen and Ngo Thanh Van for a martial arts blow out. Beautiful mercenary Trinh must perform a series of missions for her crime lord boss to save her kidnapped daughter. Complications set in when she falls for fellow mercenary Quan, whose hidden agenda threatens her own. Superb choreography and photography grace this impressive feature debut.

Preceded by…
(2009) Directed by Nguyen Tien Hung

DVcam, 7 min.

IN PERSON: Le Thanh Son

Sunday November 14 2010, 7:00PM* ( Buy Ticket )

(2007, Vietnam/United States) Directed by Stephane Gauger

Ten-year old Thuy sells roses on the street to make a living, having fled the home of her overbearing uncle. In her daily travels, she meets a lonesome, beautiful flight attendant and reclusive zookeeper, and schemes to form a match and possibly a new family. Gauger’s tender story is under girded by arresting glimpses of the hardscrabble life on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

Producer: Quan Van NguyenNam Nhat Doan. Screenwriter: Stephane Gauger. Cinematographer: Stephane Gauger. Editor: Ricardo Javier. Cast: Cat LyLe The LuPham ThiHan Nguyen HauHoang Long. 35mm, 98 min.

Preceded by…
(2006) Directed by Nguyen Ha Phong

An elderly man reads his deceased wife’s diary on his terrace above the city while his son attempts to fix the television antennae. And then, as the quiet afternoon progresses, something significant happens.

DVcam, 11 min.

IN PERSON: Stephane Gauger

* Please note the early start time.

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This entry was posted on November 12, 2010 by in NEW VOICES FROM VIETNAM @ UCLA 11.1.10 - 12.18.10 and tagged .
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