Memory of the Blind Elephant (Kí Ức Voi Mù) (2016)
Director: Nguyễn Phương Linh
Runtime: 14 minutes
Red, White, Black. Colors of different materials fuse with one another in wide shots encompassing the bleak, forlorn, seemingly endless landscape. Rubber plantations, harrowed plots of land, barren roots of gargantuan size, emaciated buffaloes staring straight ahead. Utter lack of human presence accentuates the reality of excessive resource extraction in the Central Highlands of Vietnam extending from the French colonial times well into present day. Interpolated with layers upon layers of sound is the fickle light from helmet mounted lamps, on then gone, like spectres of the past.
Memory of the Day No. 1 (2019)
Director: Trương Công Tùng
Runtime: 40 seconds
A man walking towards a patch of grass and vanishing into smoke, not unlike history collapsing into a single instance. This disappearing act is staged in the Garden of Tropical Agronomy, a long abandoned experimental greenhouse nestled in the historic Bois de Vincennes in Paris, the site for the 1931 Colonial Exposition where the culture and riches of France’s colonies were showcased to a public that was losing its faith in the imperial project.
Cadavre Exquis (2018)
Directors: Stephanie Lansaques & François Leroy
Runtime: 13 minutes
The narrow alleyways of Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the setting for this macabre and musical depiction of the lifeworld of a one-eyed yellow mutt. The uncanny animation style and photographic texture of Cadavre Exquis evoke the dreamed reality of a non-human animal’s consciousness. The semi-blind dog finds a package containing what he thought was grilled meat but turns out to be half of the spit-roasted body of one of his own kind.
Tropical Siesta (Giấc Trưa Nhiệt Đới) (2015-2017)
Director: Phan Thảo Nguyên
Runtime: 13 minutes
Rating: PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)
APB FOUNDATION SIGNATURE ART PRIZE 2018
The written records of Alexandre de Rhodes’ travels in Vietnam in the 17th century form the basis for fantasies re-enacted by children in an imaginary rural world without adults. De Rhodes is known for his contribution to the romanised script of the Vietnamese language, or chữ quốc ngữ—a phrase that ties language with the power to conjure up nations. Children’s bodies subvert conventional perception of space in a state of sustained play. From innocence, a new mythology emerges.
My Paradise (2012)
Director: Quynh Dong
Runtime: 12 minutes
Quynh Dong creates an enchanting encounter with miniature landscapes and the collective memory they reference, including their origins in classical East Asian literature and their use in domestic hobbies, both of which evoking a nostalgia for the childlike simplicity of a pre-modern past. These man-made objects and scenes are often seen in apartments of the Vietnamese diaspora; the more they portray happiness and calm, the greater the implication to the losses hidden behind.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Runtime: 10 minutes
Ratings: PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)
Jean-Luc Godard’s Camera-Eye is a segment of Far from Vietnam (Loin du Vietnam), an omnibus film made by Left Bank filmmakers in support of North Vietnam in 1967 produced by Chris Marker. Unable to go to Hanoi, Godard made films in Paris about Vietnam. Sitting behind a camera and filming himself speaking, Godard articulates his revolutionary conviction and observations of solidarity among colonised and oppressed people of the world. The camera itself is a character in this reflexive manifesto of political filmmaking.
Director: Lêna Bùi
Runtime: 8 minutes
Invoking the imagination of water as a conduit to spiritual realms, Lê Na Bùi’s film poem contemplates reincarnation in a mesmerising mosaic of sounds, languages, and images taken from different places and time periods. The film opens and ends with water, passing through the underworld where boundaries between nations, species, and eras become porous. In this radically open state, we are free to flow between our own memories and those of the universal.
For the full ECHOES, EMBERS: a story of Vietnamese and French Cinema programme, please visit here.
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