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Vietnamese Movies and DVDs

These reviews of Vietnamese movies, films and DVDs include a wide range of movies showcasing the Vietnamese experiences. There are dvds for children showing how families live in Vietnam, movie guides for families about Vietnam travel, and also Vietnamese cultural movies from Vietnam and the United States.

Families of Vietnam (Families of the World)
Shows the lives of two children and their families in Vietnam - way of life, family interaction, foods and celebrations. From breakfast to bedtime - visit the city, country, community, school and homes of two families in Vietnam.
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Globe Trekker - Vietnam
Justine Shapiro starts her journey by celebrating the New Year at the TET Festival in Ho Chi Minh City. From there she ventures up the coast taking in the unspoiled beaches of Lang Co and the city of Hué. After a bicycle tour of the capital, Hanoi, she ends her journey in the remote highlands near the Chinese border.
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Raise The Bamboo Curtain: Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma
"Our whole family enjoys travel movies. Unfortunately they are hard to find for Southeast Asia. I am so pleased that this video is now available for travelers to Vietnam. A fun way to prepare yourself mentally for your trip." (Allison Martin)
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Vietnamese American Heritage
Video tape from American Cultures For Children
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Buffalo Boy
From the publisher: Set along the southern coast of Vietnam during the French occupation in the 1940s, water is everywhere, giving life and bringing decay and rot. Kim is 15; his father and step-mother have two buffalo, their lifeline as subsistence rice farmers. During the rainy season, there's no grass and the buffalo are starving. Kim volunteers to take the beasts inland to find food. On this coming-of-age journey, Kim sees men mistreat women, men fight with men, and French taxes rob the poor. He works for Lap, a buffalo herder whose past is entangled with Kim's parents, and he makes friends who will lead him to his place in the world.
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Exploring Vietnam
A short exploration of Vietnam starting with Hanoi and Ha Long on the Tonkin Gulf and then travel to Danang, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, following two days in Bangkok, Thailand. Clips include visits to markets, museums and historical sites.
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Hearts and Minds
"Hearts & Minds," won the 1975 Academy Award for best documentary.
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The Vertical Ray of the Sun
"Arty, "chic" movie set in Vietnam.
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Cyclo
"By Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya), a sad and violent view of the seamy side of Ho Chi Minh City."
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Heaven and Earth
"This movie has been recommended on the APV [mailing list] before. It was a very good movie. I was a bit disappointed in some parts of the movie that differed from the books it was based on. It is still a very good film." (Dana Moock)
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Hitchhiking Vietnam: Letters from the Trail
"I bought the videotape so I could share what Vietnam is like with family, friends, and eventually my son when he is older. It is a wonderful video of Vietnam." (Bev Roeder)
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Three Seasons
"A Triple Winner at the Sundance Flim Festive. A must see movie. The story of a Vietnam vet who returns to Vietnam to find his daughter. The movie depics life as it is and does not have a hollywood flare to it. I cried and fell in love with Vietnam. This movie is intoxicating and beautiful. This movie was not at all what I expected. (Rita Herd)
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The Scent of Green Papaya
"This is a beautifully filmed movie, I really enjoyed it. It's about the relationship between a beautiful servant girl and the people in her life. It's definitely an "art" film (one of those one's that is like sleep medication for my husband!). But I liked it!" (Myla Stauber)
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Green Dragon
From the publisher: In 1975, refuge camps were set up across the deserts of the United States to house an exodus of over 100,000 Vietnamese immigrants before and immediately after the fall of Saigon. When Tai (Don Duong) arrives at Camp Pendleton, he is confronted by a camp filled with despair. Jim Lance (Patrick Swayze) is the Marine in charge of housing the refugees until sponsors can be found to help them assimilate into American life. Lance quickly commissions Tai, who speaks English, to translate for him. Prepare to embark on a remarkable journey as an unlikely bond of friendship is formed.
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The Quiet American
"This compelling film is an haunting enactment of Graham Greene novel about Thomas Fowler, a British journalist in 1950's Vietnam who has a jaded view of his life with his Vietnamese mistress and the political maneuvering around him. A poignant foreshadowing of the destruction of the French and American involvement in Vietnam." (Allison Martin)
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KIEU
KIEU bursts open like a flower one colorful Mission morning as the lovely heroine steps out for the day. Waving to her goldfish, she flirts with the smitten greengrocer and mulls over the election at the flower shop. But as day moves into night, and the bus takes her into the Tenderloin, we see that Kie^`u works at an “Oriental” massage parlor, desperately making money to send to her family in Vietnam. In one 24-hour slice of her life, a shocking encounter threatens to destroy Kie^`u's carefully compartmentalized existence, and bring forth the ghosts of her past. Loosely based on Vietnam’s epic nineteenth-century poem The Tale of Kie^`u , in which the heroine sells herself to redeem her family’s debt, the film re-situates Kie^`u in the neighborhoods of 21st-century San Francisco. It’s a passionate, supple work that balances documentary-like footage of massage parlor life with the occasional apparition of ghostly kindred spirits. Created by Bay Area filmmaking collective Sycamore Street Productions, KIE^`U is an epic fable of yesterday, and a telling vision of women’s survival and perseverance today. (Frako Loden, Center for Asian American Media) USA 2006 | English, Vietnamese w/E.S

Journey From The Fall
"The first major American film to dramatize the traumatic aftermath of the Vietnam War from a Vietnamese perspective. Unlike Hollywood films with a one-sided focus on the American psyche, Ham Tran’s impressive feature-length debut delves into the stories of those left behind after the fall of Saigon. Despite his allegiance to the toppled South Vietnamese government, Long Nguyen decides to remain in Vietnam. Arrested and imprisoned in a Communist re-education camp, he urges his family to make the treacherous escape by boat without him. They embark on the arduous ocean voyage, braving sickness, starvation and pirates in the hope of reaching the U.S. and freedom. Back in Vietnam, Long suffers years of solitary confinement and hard labor, and finally despairs that his family has perished. But news of their successful resettlement in America inspires him to make one last desperate attempt to join them." (Sharon Mizota, Center for Asian American Media) USA/Thailand 2005 English, Vietnamese w/E.S.


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