Vietnamese Diasporic Films and the Construction of Dysfunctional Transnational Families

The Rebel and Owl and the Sparrow

Authored by: Tony Tran

The Routledge Companion to Asian American Media

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138846012
eBook ISBN: 9781315727745
Adobe ISBN: 9781317540847


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In an overview of contemporary Vietnamese films, film critic Thùy Linh (2013) contends that the majority of “Vietnamese” films made by the Vietnamese diaspora were unable to capture the true spirit of Vietnam. Besides being essentialist in its search for an authentic Vietnam, Linh’s article is unable to recognize that the framing or comparing of films through a single nation is insufficient to fully understand the complexities of films produced by the Vietnamese and the Vietnamese diaspora. 1 This filtering of films with diasporic involvement through general notions of “Vietnamese cinema” ignores not just the transnational aspects of their production and distribution, but also the multifaceted and multisited histories of the Vietnamese and Vietnamese diaspora, which include war, loss, exile, and semi-reconciliation across multiple geographical and national borders. If films made by diasporic Vietnamese are, as Vo Hong Chuong-Dai (2011) argues, sites of the “intersection of national identity, diasporic identity, and post-war reconciliation,” it is, then, unreasonable to judge these films only as Vietnamese (74).

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