The Journey of Vaan Nguyen

"An intensely poignant observational documentary"
The New York Times
A poignant portrait of the kind of cultural displacement only history can create... first rate doc
A highly emotional, highly relatable tale of displacement and maturation
SFIAAFF Capsule Film Review

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Hoiami Nguyen never imagined that he would end up so far from his home village of Bong Son in central Vietnam. Political circumstances and the roulette of life have washed him to the shores of Israel. The penniless Vietnamese refugee became a father of 5 Hebrew speaking Israeli daughters. His daughter - Vaan, describes her parents' ordeal using a razor sharp language in her blog. She feels trapped in circles of identity that will never meet. Caught between her wild and stormy Israeli spirit and the expectations to be modest and obedient Vietnamese at home, there is unbridgeable abyss. When her father returns to his family in Vietnam, Vaan finds herself absorbed into his tragic story - a cruel tale of loss and survival. Hoimai's dream of return sends Vaan to look for a brighter future in the new-old country. She joins him in trying to reclaim the lands of the family, in the remote village at the heart of the Vietnamese jungle. The Journey of Vaan Nguyen has premiered at the Asian-American Film Festival in San Francisco and showcased in more than 30 festivals world-wide.

The Vietnam War was a traumatic war that has shaken the consciousness of the west. Millions of Vietnamese people fled from their homes to the cruel sea to save their lives. The “boat people” who survived the journey and were given asylum in new lands, can now recount their ordeal. Decades later, some still have the urge to go back home but they first have to confront issues of identity. Their children speak a new language, and are raised with different cultural sets of codes. In their homeland they have lost their rights as citizens. Their return creates numerous moral and humanistic predicaments as well. Can they demand possession of their homes and land which were confiscated by the state? What is their right of return? And if they have such a right, will the settlers on their land become homeless?

Documentary   |   Vietnam, Israel   |   2006   

84 min

Hebrew, Vietnamese   

Subtitles: Hebrew, English

Director: Duki Dror   

Producer: Yael Shavit   

Script: Violette Shitzer   

Cinematography: Philippe Bellaiche   

Editor: Dany Itzhaki   

Original Score: Haim Frank Ilfman