Who: Phan Dang Di
When April 20, 2016
Cast: Do Thi Hai Yen, Le Cong Hoang, Truong The Vinh
Language: Vietnamese, English, French
Vietnam, in the early 2000s. The state fight against an economic crisis and overpopulation. Coming from the countryside, Vu Photography student, lands in Saigon and rents an apartment by the river with two friends Thang, a server in a nightclub and Cuong Street singer. With his camera a brand new gift from his father, he discovers people and places. It’s time for Vu to watch life differently. He is particularly fascinated and seduced by her roommate Thang, a charismatic young man who lives among drug traffickers, gamblers, and prostitutes. With him, Vu discovers Saigon’s nightlife and meets Van, a young woman who dream to be a ballet dancer.
The early 2000s was the time where everything was possible. The retreat of the US embargo in Vietnam changed life population there very quickly. The city’s tumult brings together Vu, Thang, and Van, who must face the reality of a changing country. Angst, love, sentiments, how to survive in a free world? The film is Impressionist and fluid, and his style captivates the viewer. “Bi, do not be afraid,” Phan Dang Di’s previous film had already portraited a society run by women mistreated by men. Again in Mekong Stories, men don’t have a great role and are associated with brutality.
Phan Dang Di has a real talent for evoking the physical and social violence while being gentle and kind. There is some magic in this discrete film and a great sensuality. The film is in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.