Academy to Salute Vietnamese Director Dang Nhat Minh
Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will salute acclaimed Vietnamese director Dang Nhat Minh on Wednesday, November 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Phil Robinson, Academy governor and chair of its International Outreach Committee, will lead an onstage conversation with Minh, which will be followed by a screening of Minh's 2000 feature “The Guava House.” Robinson will also moderate a discussion with several other visiting Vietnamese filmmakers, including Phan Dang Di (“Bi, Don't Be Afraid”), Nguyen Quang Binh (“Floating Lives”), Nguyen Vinh Son (“The Moon at the Bottom of the Well”), Bui Thac Chuyen (“Adrift”), Le Thanh Son (“Clash”) and Stephane Gauger (“Owl and the Sparrow”).
Minh has directed such classic Vietnamese films as “When the Tenth Month Comes” (1984), “Nostalgia for the Countryside” (1995), and Vietnam's 2009 entry into the Academy's Foreign Language Film Award competition, “Don't Burn.” In addition, Minh served as Phillip Noyce's second unit director on “The Quiet American” (2002), one of the first western productions to shoot in post-war Vietnam.
The Academy's salute is being presented in association with the UCLA Film & Television Archive as part of its week-long film series “New Voices from Vietnam.” The series will showcase several new Vietnamese features, shorts and documentaries, and will include onstage filmmaker discussions at UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater in Los Angeles. The salute and screening series are a continuation of the Academy's International Outreach Program of ongoing educational and cultural efforts in Vietnam.
Following is the schedule of screenings at the UCLA Film & Television Archive's Billy Wilder Theater. (All films in Vietnamese with English subtitles.)
Friday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m.
“Bi, Don't Be Afraid!” (“Bi, dung so!”) (2010), directed by Phan Dang Di.
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. 90 mins.
Preceded by: “Fading Light” (2010), directed by Thien Do. 20 mins.
In Person: Directors Phan Dang Di, Thien Do
Saturday, November 6, at 2 p.m.
Documentary Film Program
“Mother and Daughter” (2010), directed by Phan Huyen My.
Caught between her tradition and the rapidly changing social expectations of modern Vietnamese teenagers, a mother battles her daughter's willful behavior while caring for her own aging mother in a small urban apartment. 23 mins.
“Thanh Cong Ward” (2004), directed by Phan Thi Vang Anh.
In an old district of Hanoi, the neighborhood authority must maintain the numerous loudspeakers that issue civic information and directives to the public. This short documentary offers a humorous look into the government's intervention into the everyday lives of ordinary people. 32 mins.
“Grandfather and Grandson” (2006), directed by Nguyen Thi Tham.
In a small village, a teenage boy casually reflects on his life of menial farm labor and big spending at nightclubs, a lifestyle in stark contrast to that of his elderly grandfather, who fixates on family traditions and rituals. 28 mins.
Saturday, November 6, at 7:30 p.m.
“Floating Lives” (2010), directed by Nguyen Quang Binh.
Vietnamese martial arts star (and former “21 Jump Street” co-star) 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. But when the brother and sister, as teenagers, take in a prostitute (Do Thi Hai Yen) they rescue from an angry mob, long-simmering family tensions finally reach a breaking point. 100 mins.
Preceded by: “Dog Day” (2010), directed by Phan Xine. 21 mins.
In person: Director Nguyen Quang Binh, actor Dustin Nguyen, actress Do Thi Hai Yen, director Phan Xine
Sunday, November 7, at 7 p.m.
“The Moon at the Bottom of the Well” (“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 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. 121 mins.
In person: Director Nguyen Vinh Son
Friday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m.
“Adrift” (Choi voi) (2009), 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 (Do Thi Hai Yen) 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 second feature is a sensuous, provocative study of identity in modern Hanoi. 101 mins.
Preceded by: “New Year's Eve Has Passed” (2006), directed by Bui Kim Qui. 9 mins.
In person: Director Bui Thac Chuyen, “Adrift” screenwriter Phan Dang Di, actress Do Thi Hai Yen
Saturday, November 13, at 2 p.m.
Documentary Film Program
“Daddy's Home” (2004), directed by Doan Gia Man.
A heartbreaking story captured in cinema-verite 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. 25 mins.
“I Dream to Be a Worker” (2006), directed by Tran Phuong Thao.
Huge multinational 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. 47 mins.
“My Apartment Block” (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 among them. 56 mins.
Saturday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m.
“Clash” (“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 blowout. Beautiful mercenary Trinh must perform a series of missions for her crime lord boss to save her kidnapped daughter. Complications arise when she falls for fellow mercenary Quan, whose hidden agenda threatens her own. Superb choreography and photography grace this impressive feature debut. 90 mins.
Preceded by: “I Love Vietnam” (2009), directed by Nguyen Tien Hung. 7 mins.
In person: Director Le Thanh Son
Sunday, November 14, at 7 p.m.
“Owl and the Sparrow” (2007), directed by Stephane Gauger.
A runaway on the streets, ten-year-old Thuy wanders the city selling roses to make a living. In her daily travels, she meets a lonesome flight attendant and a reclusive zookeeper, and schemes to form a match and possibly a new family. Gauger's tender story is marked by arresting glimpses of hardscrabble life on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. 98 mins.
Preceded by: “The Terrace” (2006), directed by Nguyen Ha Phong. 11 mins.
In person: Director Stephane Gauger.
Tickets to the November 10 “Academy Salute to Director Dang Nhat Minh” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.oscars.org, by mail, or at the Academy box office (8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved.
The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.
Tickets for “New Voices from Vietnam” must be purchased separately. For tickets to the screenings at UCLA, please visit the UCLA Film & Television Archive website at http://www.cinema.ucla.edu.
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