Chris Kennedy

“Forgetting Vietnam.” by Trinh T. Minh-ha, February 16, 2017

Forgetting Vietnam
dir. Trinh T. Minh-ha | USA/Vietnam 2015 | 90 min. | digital

“All film images are images of memory — and of future memory.” —Trinh T. Minh-ha

The latest video project from noted filmmaker and theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha (Surname Viet Given Name Nam), Forgetting Vietnam is a lush and fluid portrait of the artist’s homeland at multiple stages in history. Weaving together footage shot on Hi-8 video in 1995 and HD in 2012, Trinh reflects upon the country’s emergence from historical trauma and political seclusion, poetically transposes her theoretical queries upon the imagery collected on her visits, and foregrounds the role of women as both keepers of tradition and authors of resistance. Throughout the film, Trinh emphasizes the centrality of pairs — the importance of land and water to Vietnam, the ascending and descending dragons that entwine into the shape of its geography, the act of both remembering and forgetting that the surge in tourism has brought to the increasingly open country, even the two historical and technological moments that her video cameras captured — but rather than setting up binary oppositions, she models the ability to “hold both”: to open up a third space through which new poetics and new possibilities may thrive.