blogged by @kingceejay

Before flying to Vietnam, one thing I did to brief myself about this country was watch a Vietnamese movie. Being a big fan of Arts, I believed films ‘reflect the culture and reality of a society’. Too bad though, the first one I saw was about the turn of Vietnamese-French war. But I did watch it and gobbled it with gosto!

Whether you’re in Vietnam now or planning to come to this beautiful country in Asia, here are five Vietnamese movies I loved:

1. Heaven and Earth. Not because this is a Holywood movie but for the raw-ness of its plot, this is my number one. If you’ve had a long day, you shouldn’t watch this though-it can be depressing, but if you’re in a light mood, you will admire the courage of the main character in this movie. Suffering from the hands of both the Americans and her own people, this movie tells how one woman from central Vietnam struggled to survive in the face of war, exploitation, rejection and repression.

(Picture from Google Images)

2. Hot Boy. With its title, it implies an M to M relationship. I did watch this flick with my wife and we agreed we could liken it to any beautifully made indie film about homosexuality, prostitution, and poverty. The main characters here are played by straight men yet they were very convincing in giving justice to their roles. From here, you’d understand why the Vietnamese youth often attaches a sexual connotation to the adjective ‘hot’. Present-day Saigon is also showcased in this film.

(Picture from Google Images)

3. Dep Centimet. Locals say this wasn’t a very original concept but I liked its plot anyway. The actors were so good you’d forget this movie was locally made. Here, you’d be introduced to what many ladies in the metro are obsessed with- fame! That is by becoming a model or singer, even to the extent of forgetting their values and questioning their idea of dignity. It’s a common ‘cheeky boy takes advantage of  ambitious girl’ story but the use of comic irony makes this one not a the typical Vietnamese movie.

(Picture from Google Images)

4. Dai Chien. This is like a diary of a modern- day Saigonese playboy. Picture a successful bachelor, whose dad lives at a French villa in Phu My Hung; He drives a BMW and dates different types of ladies, which is not very far from reality. Juggling his schedule with each of these women every week can be comic slash chaotic enough. And with all seriousness, this can be a useful profiler of the different personalities & cultures of women in Vietnam where modernity & tradition constantly mix.


(Picture from Google Images)

5. De Mai Tinh. This is definitely not your typical ‘love triangle’ story! This film gives viewers an overview of Vietnamese society’s perception of the third sex. Many issues intertwine in this rugs-to-riches movie, most of which are about love, friendship and ambition. Most scenes were shot in the country’s prime tourist attraction-Nha Trang. Love and dignity prevail in this flick, which makes it more ideal than real.

If you want to understand or at least know the Vietnamese spirit, watch number 1. If you want something light, numbers 2-f would be right. Just don’t miss the depth of each flick though. They may not be exactly unique but they’re truly Vietnamese.

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