Vietnam

Fifth Cinema

(Điện ảnh Thứ Năm)

Fifth Cinema begins with a quiet statement “I am a filmmaker, as you know.” That text and what follows, by Maori filmmaker Barry Barclay, who coined the term ‘Fourth Cinema’ to distinguish Indigenous cinema from the established ‘First, Second, and Third Cinema’ framework, provides structure to Nguyễn’s hybrid essay film that moves on multiple cinematic and topical terrains. Eschewing voice in favour of the written word and juxtaposing moving images of the filmmaker’s own daughter with archival images of Vietnamese women seen through the lens of the “ship’s officers”, the film slowly leads the viewer through a narrative of colonialism, indigeneity and cinematic limitations in representation. —Nguyễn Trinh Thi

Country

Run Time

55 mins

How to Improve the World

(Cải tiến Thế giới)

Resisting the westernised reliance on images for creating narratives, telling stories and experiencing the world, How to Improve the World turns to music and sound as a way of perceiving through listening. Originally a 3-channel installation, this aurally centred work reflects on the past, present and future of indigenous cultures of the people in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

Country

Run Time

47 mins

How to Improve the World

(Cải tiến Thế giới)

Resisting the westernised reliance on images for creating narratives, telling stories and experiencing the world, How to Improve the World turns to music and sound as a way of perceiving through listening. Originally a 3-channel installation, this aurally centred work reflects on the past, present and future of indigenous cultures of the people in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

Country

Run Time

47 mins

Landscape Series #1

(Phong cảnh #1)

As the journey starts, wide empty landscapes make one wonder what one is looking for. A mysterious object? A crime scene? Something horrifying? The scenes are getting more and more specific, but they do not lead to any concrete solution—only an injury in place of a metaphor. —Nguyễn Trinh Thi

Country

Run Time

5 mins

Landscape Series #1

(Phong cảnh #1)

As the journey starts, wide empty landscapes make one wonder what one is looking for. A mysterious object? A crime scene? Something horrifying? The scenes are getting more and more specific, but they do not lead to any concrete solution—only an injury in place of a metaphor. —Nguyễn Trinh Thi

Country

Run Time

5 mins

Letters from Panduranga

(Những lá thư Panduranga)

An essay film in the form of a letter exchange, Nguyễn’s personal and poetic film explores the complex legacy of cultural and historical occupation, its ongoing presence in the indigenous Cham community, and her role as an artist.

Country

Run Time

34 mins

The Unseen River

(Giòng Sông Không Nhìn Thấy)

Following on from his widely screened and hugely accomplished 2019 short Blessed Land, Phạm Ngọc Lân’s The Unseen River cements the Vietnamese filmmaker’s place as one of the most bold and unique visionaries of contemporary new cinema. The film explores the magic, beauty and intensity of the Mekong River by following several humans and one animal as they all traverse its banks. A young couple visit a pair of monks in a futuristic temple; two former lovers reunite by chance years after their affair; and a spunky black-and-white dog deftly navigates the river landscape tying them all together. Magic and melodrama mix and meld mellifluously along the Mekong.

Countries

Run Time

23 mins

As the journey starts, the vast empty landscape makes one wonder what one is looking for. A mysterious object? A crime scene? Something terrifying? The scenes grow more and more specific, but they do not lead to any concrete solution—only an injury in place of a metaphor.

I am interested in the idea of landscapes as quiet witnesses to history. During my online search for such photos, I came upon hundreds of images in which anonymous persons were portrayed in landscapes—and always in the same position, pointing to indicate a past event, the location of something gone, something lost or missing. We are left knowing nothing about the people, their specific thoughts or feelings, only with their repetitious sameness—always indicating, pointing to ‘evidence’ of something—never good. Together these anonymous witnesses, portrayed in compelling uniformity by innumerable Vietnamese press photographers, seem to be indicating a direction, a way forward out of the past, a fictional journey. —Nguyễn Trinh Thi

Country

Run Time

5 mins