T. Minh-ha Trinh - Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989)

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Of marriage and loyalty: “Daughter, she obeys her father/ Wife, she obeys her husband/ Widow, she obeys her son.”

Vietnamese-born Trinh T. Minh-ha’s profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society. Using dance, printed texts, folk poetry and the words and experiences of Vietnamese women in Vietnam—from both North and South—and the United States, Trinh’s film challenges official culture with the voices of women. A theoretically and formally complex work, SURNAME VIET GIVEN NAME NAM explores the difficulty of translation, and themes of dislocation and exile, critiquing both traditional society and life since the war.

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