Nguyen Trinh Thi (°1973) got her first name ‘Thi’ – which means ‘poetry’ – from her grandfather, a poet. Was it a sign of things to come? As an essayistic filmmaker, she investigates the role of memory in the necessary unveiling of hidden, displaced or misinterpreted histories. Words as well as images are essential in that regard. The program ‘Displaced Places’ focuses on post-colonial experiences of modern Vietnam and all its complexities. In 2009, Nguyen founded Hanoi DocLab, an independent center for documentary film and the moving image art. Amongst many other young artists, Viet Vu – part of ‘Waiting for a Warm Embrace’ – passed through the program.
Responding to the idea of Fourth Cinema by Maori filmmaker Barry Barclay, Nguyen Trinh Thi explores her position as a filmmaker, wife and mother through poetic reflections, archival footage and recordings of her own daughter. Fifth Cinema is a montage of clashing images and expectations.
“Nguyen Trinh Thi’s Fifth Cinema imagines a new kind of film for people between bordered nations who defy neat dichotomies.” – Ben Valentine, Hyperallergic
Letters from Panduranga
The film essay Letters from Panduranga consists of an exchange of letters between a female narrator and a male traveller visiting the archaeological sites of the Cham culture. For her reflection on the exploitation of cultural heritage, Nguyen Trinh Thi drew inspiration from the Vietnamese government’s decision to build the country’s first two nuclear power plants in Panduranga, in sites important for the spiritual experience of the Cham.
“Letters from Panduranga offers a meaningful hindsight into this two-thousand year old matriarchal culture and particularly the complexity of preserving, maintaining and sharing a culture without entombing it.” – Caroline Ha Thuy, Arts of Southeast Asia