Star Nhà Ease: Vietnamese Cinema

Presented by Live Cinema UK & Tuyết Vân Huỳnh

Star Nhà Ease: Vietnamese Cinema presents a captivating collection of Vietnamese cinematic treasures, marking their debut to UK audiences. Co-curated by Cường Minh Bá Phạm, Esther Johnson, and Tuyết Vân Huỳnh. Taking place in cinema’s across the UK in May and June 2024, the season is a celebration and introduction of Vietnamese cinema to UK viewers. See full events listings below.

Star Nhà Ease is dedicated to unveiling the rich tapestry of Vietnamese cinema to UK audiences for the first time. This initiative will focus on expanding the understanding of Vietnam’s unique cinematic identity and spotlighting the wealth of its cinematic achievements, which remain largely unrecognised in the West.

Tracing back to the 1920s, amidst a backdrop of considerable challenges and prolonged conflict, filmmakers have profoundly captured the tumultuous journey of Vietnamese people. Through their art, they have carved out a distinctive cinematic identity, establishing a voice that demands to be heard. As we approach the centenary of Vietnamese cinema in 2024, it presents a fitting moment to introduce UK audiences to a curated selection of rarely seen Vietnamese films.

Our mission is to kindle a passion for Vietnamese cinema among viewers, celebrate its rich legacy, encourage the exploration of more Vietnamese films, and stimulate discussions on the narratives shaping Vietnam and its diaspora and the intrinsic value of the films we have selected. Star Nhà Ease aims to highlight the significance of film heritage and its role in empowering underrepresented communities and voices. By doing so, we envision a scenario where individuals, who rarely see themselves reflected on screen, will be drawn to cinemas in large numbers, feeling a sense of belonging within the broader spectrum of British arts and culture.

Star Nhà Ease will present Esther Johnson’s archive essay documentary Dust & Metal (2022), which features extracts from across Vietnamese cinematic history, stemming from her field research in archives of the Vietnamese Film Institute. This will be accompanied by a live score from Xo Xinh, Vietnamese electronic music composer and performer at three dates across London, Birmingham and Liverpool. The ‘cine-concert’ is a truly international collaborative project, supported by the British Council and co-produced by TPD: The Centre for Movie Talents in Hanoi. The performances are a rare opportunity to see this unique work performed live after world premiering at Sheffield DocFest 2022 and its Vietnamese premiere at Monsoon Music Festival in 2023, as a part of the British Council UK/Viet Nam Season.

Among the feature films presented as part of the Season are Little Girl of Hanoi (1974), a poignant portrayal of the 1972 U.S. bombing campaign over Hanoi, infused with a message of hope in Hải Ninh’s compelling drama. These screenings will be complemented by an original live musical response from Nammy Wams, a London-based music producer and DJ specialising in grime, UK drill, and the related sounds.

Our stand alone screenings of Vietnamese classics will feature Đặng Nhật Minh’s When the Tenth Month Comes (1984), a striking black and white film that captures the inhumanities of the Vietnam war as experienced by those who lived in Vietnam at the time. A young Vietnamese woman, Duyên, heads to the South-Eastern border to see her husband. As she returns home she carries the indescribable pain of learning that her husband had been killed and chooses to conceal this from her in-laws. Ming carefully weaves together Vietnamese folk culture and beliefs while also dealing with collective bereavement. And Việt Linh’s Travelling Circus (1989), a bittersweet story of a small travelling circus stopping in a verdant ethnic minority village in the central highlands of Vietnam. Through the eyes of a village youngster, we witness the magic of the circus, and the naive hope that illusion can be transformed into reality.

Also featured is documentary Finding Phong (2015) by Phương Thảo and Swann Dubus, which chronicles the journey of Phong, who has grappled with feeling like a girl trapped in a mismatched boy’s body since childhood. Following the screening, audiences will have the opportunity to engage in a live Q&A session with the film protagonist, Lê Ánh Phong at the London screening.

The Season also includes a selection of shorts from Vietnamese filmmakers and the diaspora. Flowing Home (2021) An animated story where two sisters grow up in Vietnam and are separated by the war between North and South. Good Chips (2023), Dublin 1989: A family of Vietnamese immigrants struggle to keep their takeaway business afloat, while their 12 year old daughter Tam befriends a local Irish boy. Sigh Gone (2019) Without the guide of her “lost love”, Thuy is on the verge of death by boredom. Having no agenda, she finds odd ways to entertain herself in the bustling city of Saigon, Vietnam. And Lastly, Stay Awake, Be Ready (2019) On a street corner a mysterious conversation among three young men plays out, while a traffic accident occurs on a motorbike. The night brings together a sketch, a multicolour frame of reality.

Venues, events and booking links below

Rich Mix London

Thursday 16th May Dust & Metal with a live score by Xo Xinh

Wednesday 22nd May When the Tenth Month Comes + Introduction

Thursday 23rd May Travelling Circus + Introduction

Friday 24th May Finding Phong + Q&A with star Lê Ánh Phong

Saturday 25th May Little Girl of Hanoi with a live musical introduction by Nammy Wams + Q&A

The Garden Cinema London

Thursday 28th May Short Film Programme + Q&A

Wednesday 29th May When the Tenth Month Comes + Introduction

Birmingham MAC

Friday 17th May Dust & Metal with a live score by Xo Xinh + Q&A

Saturday 18th May When the Tenth Month Comes

Sunday 19th May Travelling Circus

Monday 20th May Little Girl of Hanoi with a live musical introduction by Nammy Wams + Q&A

Tuesday 21st May Short Film Programme + Q&A

Wednesday 22nd May Finding Phong + Q&A with star Lê Ánh Phong

FACT | Cinema in the City, Pagoda Arts – Liverpool

Friday 17th May Little Girl of Hanoi with a live musical introduction by Nammy Wams

Sunday 19th May Dust & Metal with a live score by Xo Xinh + Q&A

Thursday 23rd May, Friday 31st May, Friday 21st June Dust & Metal (12A)

Friday 24th May, Wednesday 5th June, Thursday 13th June Little Girl of Hanoi (15)

Museum of the Home – London

Sunday 26th May Sounding / Seeing: Archival Poetics Workshop

Thursday 30th May Dust & Metal + Q&A with Dir: Esther Johnson

Saturday 1st June Little Girl of Hanoi (15)

Sunday 2nd June Star Nhà Ease: Vietnamese Cinema: Short Film Programme

Sunday 9th June When the Tenth Month Comes

Sunday 16th June Travelling Circus

Sunday 30th June Finding Phong

Phoenix – Leicester

Tuesday 4th June The Little Girl of Hanoi (12A)

Wednesday 12th June When the Tenth Month Comes (PG)

Sunday 16th June Travelling Circus (12A)

Thursday 20th June Finding Phong (15)

Monday 24th June Dust & Metal + Q&A (12A)

Watershed – Bristol

Thursday 6th June Dust & Metal Q&A + ‘hologram’ performance (12A)

Tyneside Cinema – Newcastle

Tuesday 18th June Dust & Metal (12A)

Wednesday 26th June When the Tenth Month Comes (PG)

Bertha Dochouse – London

Saturday 8th June Dust & Metal (12A)

Broadway Cinema – Nottingham

Wednesday 26th June Dust & Metal Q&A + ‘hologram’ performance (12A)

Hyde Park Picturehouse – Leeds

Tuesday 25th June Dust & Metal (12A)

Sunday 7th July Travelling Circus (12A)

Showroom Workstation – Sheffield

Friday 26th July Dust & Metal + Q&A (12A)

Sunday 28th July The Little Girl of Hanoi (12A)

Tuesday 30th July Finding Phong (15)

Star Nhà Ease: Vietnamese Cinema Season is supported by the BFI Audience Project Fund, awarding National Lottery funding, the British Council and Longdan Ltd.

The Project was originally supported by the British Council’s UK/Viet Nam Season 2023.

Season design & graphics by Loi Xuan Ly




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