Monographs 2023 – Precious. Rare. For Sale

  • October 26, 2023 | Thursday
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Precious. Rare. For Sale (2023)
Director: Lêna Bùi
Runtime: English, Vietnamese, Êđê with English subtitles


Precious. Rare. For Sale. takes a broad sweep at the presentation of nature in Vietnamese moving images from the 1990s. From being an
abode for majestic and magical beasts, to serving as a backdrop for war heroics and social realist tragedies, representations of nature have been shaped by Vietnam’s changing socio-political contexts. Reflecting on how filmmakers have portrayed the environment, Bùi questions the ethics of exploiting nature for the camera. While early ethnographic films shot by the French depicted the Vietnamese jungle as an untouched, primitive landscape, today’s images of razed forests and neatly-partitioned land plots reveal how nature has become a commodity for a rising middle-class. Captured on screen by property developers and thrill-seeking vloggers alike, nature’s images shapeshift constantly, feeding into an endless loop of mediated consumption.


About the Director

Lêna Bùi lives in Saigon, Vietnam. Her works are sometimes drawn from anecdotes, and at other times, in-depth articulations of human relationships to nature and the impact of rapid development on people’s lives. Using mainly painting and video, she reflects on the ways in which tradition, faith, death and dreams influence our behaviour and perception. Her work has been shown at solo and group exhibitions such as the 2022 Jeju Biennale, the Asia Culture Center, South Korea; Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Wesleyan University, USA; Skyline with flying people 3, Vietnam; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Germany; The Factory Contemporary Art Center, Vietnam; Carré d’Art-Musée d’Art Contemporain, France; and the Wellcome Collection, London.



About Monographs 2023

Monographs is a series of video and text essays on Asian cinema commissioned by the Asian Film Archive (AFA). Monographs offers a critical platform for writers and thinkers to discourse upon the moving image beyond the walls of the cinema. Responding to changing geological and socio-political landscapes, Monographs 2023 explores the tensions between form and formlessness, sound and silence, as landscapes are continually sinking, shifting, stirring.

Learn more.

You can view the video essays part of Monographs 2023 as part of an exhibition at the Oldham Theatre foyer from 26 October – 8 December 2023.