Nguyen Trinh Thi
Vietnam | 2016 | 54 mins | Multiple Languages | World Premiere | Director Attending
Vietnam the Movie uses a carefully structured montage of clips from drama and documentary films to give a chronological account of Vietnamese history from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, encompassing the end of French colonialism and America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. But this is no conventional history lesson. Rather, the excerpts chosen contrast a variety of external and often oppositional views, ranging from mainstream Hollywood drama to European art-house. Source material from the US includes Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July and Forrest Gump, whilst Europe is represented by the works of Harun Farocki, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog and Jean-Luc Godard. Director Nguyễn Trinh also splices extracts from the films of Nagisa Oshima, Satyajit Ray and Ann Hui into the mix. The result suggests that any ‘true’ picture of Vietnam has been lost to the multiplicity of symbolic purposes to which the country, its people and their tribulations have been put.
Nguyen Trinh Thi
Born in 1973, Nguyễn Trinh holds MAs in journalism and international affairs from the universities of Iowa and California, US. Her diverse work investigates the role of memory in unveiling hidden, displaced or misinterpreted histories, and examines the position of artists in Vietnamese society. Nguyễn’s previous works include A Chungking Road Opening (2005), Love Man Love Woman (2007), Chronicle of a Tape Recorded Over (2011) and Letters from Panduranga (2015). In 2009, she founded the Hanoi Doclab educational centre for the production of documentary films and video art. “My motivation in recycling found footage,” she says, “is to preserve, deconstruct and subvert different kinds of film and media aesthetics and language—to re-tell, re-think, re-read, re-engage with history … Vietnam the Movie looks into the ways popular media forms our collective imaginations, memories and understandings of a war, a country, a nation.”