Category Archives: Video

New Vietnamese Films Out This Month

Yesterday I sat down to compile the listing of movies due out in Vietnam next month for the upcoming issue of AsiaLIFE, and I was pretty surprised at the number of local flicks hitting the theaters.

Vuot Qua Ben Thuong Hai (Journey from Shanghai)

This period thriller follows the journey of Nguyen Ai Quoc–better known to the world as Ho Chi Minh–from Hong Kong to the Soviet Union by way of Shanghai. For those who don’t know the story, Ho Chi Minh escaped from prison in Hong Kong by conspiring to fake his own death. Journey from Shanghai follows the events immediately after his escape, and from the trailer, it looks like the filmmakers have gone for a noir-meets-martial arts tone. Central to the film is Ho’s friendship with Soong Ching-ling, the once wife of Sun Yet-sen who supported the Communists during the Civil War.

Saigon Electric and Bui Duong (Street Dust)

The trailer above isn’t actually for the 2009 Vietnamese hip-hop drama Street Dust–it’s for director Nguyen Duc Viet’s December 2010 release, Saigon Electric. Perhaps to build the anticipation for Saigon Electric, local theaters are re-releasing Street Dust next month. The film follows siblings Hanh and Nam’s journey towards hip-hop fame. After their mother dies, Nam gives gives up his dream to find employment, but Hanh is determined to secure them both a shot at a competition in Bangkok.

Saigon Electric was written by Owl and Sparrow screenwriter Stephane Gauger and similarly follows the dreams of a Saigon hip-hoppers to beat out a rival crew and advance to a competition in South Korea. Read more about the film here.

Canh Dong Bat Tan (Floating Lives)

Viet Kieu actor Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street, Heaven and Earth, Little Fish) continues to bolster the local film industry with his latest release, Floating Lives. The film follows some pretty heavy subject matter: love, infidelity and betrayal in a small town in the Mekong Delta. I haven’t found much about the plot just yet, but it’s based on Nguyen Ngoc Tu’s “The Boundless Rice Field” (available in English translation). It looks like director Nguyen Phan Quang Binh is continuing to push the envelope with some steamy-for-Vietnam scenes.


Filed under Film, Media, Video, Vietnam

Vietnam, Surfing and the Veterans

Last month, Amy Morison, the editor of Live Hoi An magazine, sent me an article from a freelancer named Clint Lambert on the resurgence of surfing in Vietnam on the stretch of the Central Coast in Danang nicknamed China Beach by American G.I.s during the war. The article, which we picked up, mostly focused on the efforts of Aussie expat Dave Spencer and the newly formed Danang Surf Club to jump start the surf scene, but also touched on the Vietnam Veterans Longboard Society (VVLS), a group of surfers and veterans that formed after the release of Between the Lines, a documentary that follows the lives of two surfers: one who went to war and another who dodged the draft and took refuge on the beaches of Hawaii.

We got some great wartime surf photos from the filmmakers, and Gordon Smith from the VVLS helped us flesh out the story, but unfortunately, neither the photos nor the additional material we developed with Gordon’s help made it past the censor. A shame, because it’s a fascinating story and the photos were fantastic.

Below is a trailer for Between the Lines, in which some of the photos we hoped to run can be seen. Enjoy.


Filed under Video, Vietnam

Saigon in Miniature

A guy named Joe Nafis reached out to me to see if AsiaLIFE HCMC was interested in running something on his recent film project. We get lots of requests for air time, but this one really stood out. 

Employing tilt shift photography (and a lot of patience), Mr. Nafis managed to cobble together a Mr. Rogers-like rendition of Saigon in all its chaos: Miniature City HCMC. The result is pretty amazing.

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Filed under Uncategorized, Video, Vietnam