On a slagheap in France, alongside the Mekong River, and in a mysterious cave in rural Vietnam, three young Vietnamese filmmakers explore intimacy. Whether coming or going, the characters in Les attendants (2021), The Unseen River (2020) and The Eternal Springtime (2020) are looking for new horizons on terrains that carry the weight of the past.
Followed by a Q&A with Viet Vu and Minh Quy Truong.
‘Waiting for a Warm Embrace’ is a selection of shorts by young Vietnamese filmmakers. Their work chimes well with ‘Displaced Places’, a two-part program dedicated to Nguyen Trinh Thi.
The Eternal Springtime, Viet Vu (Vietnam, 2020, 26′)
In a landscape on the brink of extinction, a son goes into a cave with his mother to revitalize himself. With his personal portrait, Viet Vu, a young Vietnamese filmmaker now living in Brussels, penetrates deeply into the fragile present of an ancient Southeast Asian nation moving into the digital age.
“With The Eternal Springtime Viet Vu gives us not only an interesting experimental short film but also a love letter to a disappearing landscape of his youth and to his ageing mother.” – Nancy Fornoville, Asian Movie Pulse
Les attendants, Minh Quy Truong (Vietnam, 2021, 15′)
On a slag heap, men meet among former mining waste for sex. At a distance from this meeting of hard and tender, a homeless migrant wanders around in search of water. Decades ago, migrants worked in the mine, their sons now come here to satisfy their sexual needs, while a man from a new generation of migrants must make the place his homeless home.
“Adding to the impressive impact the granular 16mm image leaves on the viewer, the sound design adds a bit of extra magic to The Men Who Wait [Les attendants]. Lustful whispers and grunting blend with the rustling of trees and the swishing wind.” – Marina D. Richter, Asian Movie Pulse
The Unseen River, Lan Pham Ngoc (Vietnam, 2020, 23′)
While an old woman visits a hydroelectric plant to meet a former one-night stand, an insomniac boy goes to a temple to meet a monk who cures insomnia.