This year’s CinemAsia Film Festival, a leading Asian film festival in Europe, will feature two Vietnam films — Taste Vị and Mein Vietnam. Since 2004, the film festival has put together Asian stories to enhance Asian visibility in media and culture.
“We are the only pan-Asian film festival in the Netherlands, and the 14th edition of our festival will take place this year from May 10 to 15 in three cinemas across the city,” Ron Ma, program coordinator of the film festival, told Vietcetera in an email.
On its 14th edition, CinemAsia will be showing Lê Bảo’s award-winning story of Bassley, a Nigerian football player living in Vietnam who has been idle since he injured his leg. The story revolves around Bassley and four middle-aged women he sometimes works for. In an attempt to escape their miserable lives, the five of them went to an old house where they created a unique world for themselves. However, their heaven on earth setup doesn’t last forever.
Produced in 2021, Taste Vị is Bảo’s feature directorial debut. The Vietnamese filmmaker is a self-trained cinephile who made his first short film at 20 years old.
Bảo’s masterpiece is meant to take its audience into a uniquely sensory dreamscape, evocative of the works of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, an independent Thai director. Taste Vị’s awards include Berlinale: Encounters Award – Special Jury Prize; Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2021 – Achievement in Cinematography, Young Cinema Award.
Another Vietnamese creation among the 30+ films CinemAsia is screening this month is Mein Vietnam. Directed by German Tim Ellrich and Vietnamese Hien Mai, Mein Vietnam is a moving documentary following the lives of Bay and Tam, a Vietnamese couple who have been based in Germany for 30 years. The couple works as office cleaners at night and spends their days virtually talking with their families in Vietnam. The story is slow-paced, showing the normal lives of an Asian couple living abroad but the narration changes when a storm hits their home country. That’s when their virtual bubble bursts and their priorities pull them apart.
Tim and Mai’s piece captures the uncertainty of having two places to call home and the feeling of being torn between the two. Produced in 2020, Mein Vietnam has received the First Steps Award – German Newcomer Award and Hot Docs – Top 20 Audience Favorites.
Mein Vietnam is Mai’s first cinematic work. She will be in attendance during the festival and will also join the panel discussion on May 13.
Both Vietnamese movies will be shown at Studio/K, Rialto, and Rialto VU in Amsterdam.
The CinemAsia official selection brings exciting new films that are critically acclaimed or massively popular with audiences. Past editions have included the most vibrant film cultures, featuring everything from Hollywood hopefuls to orphaned children and Himalayan quests for God to lip-synching Filipino drag queens.