Wednesday Night Southeast Asia Movie: Việt Nam

April 22, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Center for Korean Studies

Ðể Mai Tính
(AKA Fool for Love)

Việt Nam/USA (2010, 95 min)
Vietnamese w/English subtitles

Director: Charlie Nguyen
Screenplay: Dustin Nguyen
Cast: Dustin Nguyen (as Dung), Kathy Uyen (as Mai), Thai Hoa (as Hoi), Charlie Nguyen (as Antoine) Van Hai Bui (as Minh), Leon Le (as Son), Johnny Nguyen (as Johnny)

Directed by Charlie Nguyen (THE REBEL), this rom-com, Ðể Mai Tính, follows Dung, played by Dustin Trí Nguyen (known best for his role as H.T. Loki on 21 Jumpstreet, which made girls like me swoon in the late ‘80s) in his pursuit of Mai (Kathy Uyên), an aspiring singer-songwriter. In line with the traditional storyline of a boy in love with a girl out of his league, Dung’s romantic persistence compels him to follow Mai from Sài Gòn to Nha Trang. There, under the employ of the flamboyant cosmetics entrepreneur Hoi (played with unceasing comedic energy by Thái Hòa), Dung attempts to woo Mai against the backdrop of Nha Trang, one of Việt Nam’s most beautiful coastal cities.

Aside from keeping the audience laughing consistently throughout (yet also, at the appropriate moments, silently holding their collective breath in the anticipation of romantic embrace), Ðể Mai Tính depicts Vietnamese men, both heterosexual and homosexual, and women as layered characters rather than the stereotypes Asians are often reduced to in mainstream film; while there is certainly a suitor you root for, there are no one-dimensional martial artists or harmlessly docile, impotent “model minorities” here. (The film’s treatment of gender is noteworthy. While Hoi’s character no doubt falls back upon stereotypical conventions of the homosexual and cross-dresser as comic relief for the bulk of the movie, he does reveal more complex character traits as the story progresses, and the film’s other gay male characters range from flirtatious to brooding. One couple announces plans for a Parisian nuptial, and it is the comfort with which homosexuality is treated in these details of the story that is important not only for films in the Vietnamese community, but cinema in general.)

This mixed Vietnamese/Việt Kiều production blew the socks off Vietnamese box office sales in 2010 as the highest grossing film of the year and one of the most popular Vietnamese romantic comedies of all time! Directed by Charlie Nguyen (THE REBEL).

-Jade Hidle, diaCRITICS

Ticket Information
Free and open to the public

Event Sponsor
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Mānoa Campus

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