Irish Film Institute -EAFFI 2021: MY VIETNAM


Director: Hien Mai and Tim Ellrich

70 mins, Germany-Austria, 2020, Subtitled

Vietnamese couple Bay (Thi Bay Nguyen) and Tam (Trung Tam Mai) escaped on a fishing boat 30 years ago, leaving Vietnam for Germany to start a new life. Working as office cleaners by night, their daytime is spent connecting with family and friends via Skype and karaoke chatrooms. They can scarcely afford living in Germany and can never save enough to visit home. Their house in Vietnam is being cared for by a family member while they dream of returning one day. But the house is destroyed by a typhoon, throwing the whole country into chaos. Tam realises, ‘Every cent we earned is gone’…

Hien Mai co-directs with simple directness this deeply resonant documentary, dedicated to her parents. As Covid pandemic viewers, we are able to understand a little of the struggle of remoteness, while for Bay and Tam everyday life is trapped between the virtual and a distant world out of reach.

Screening as part of the East Asia Film Festival Ireland 2021, March 25th to March 28th.

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