Film screening and discussion with director Minh Nguyen-Vô
Buffalo Boy (Mua Len Trua)
A Film by Minh Nguyen-Vô
In Vietnamese, with English sub-titles, 103 minutes / color / 2004
Starring: The Lu Le, Thi Kieu Trinh Nguyen
The screenplay was adapted from one of Viet Nam's most popular short stories, writer Son Nam's "Huong Rung Ca Mau (Scent of the Woods in Ca Mau)." Set in the lowlands of southern Vietnam, this powerful coming of age tale is a richly textured and stunningly visual reflection of the rhythms of daily life and culture determined by water. The flooded landscape serves to tell the story of the relationship between a father and son, the cycles of life, and the inescapable flow of all things. When young Kim, out of necessity, joins the nomadic life of the buffalo herders he is exposed to a complex, brutal way of existence. He must find his own way and sense of self in this male world of endurance, betrayal, and uncertainty, which can also offer friendship and independence. Minh Nguyen-Vô presents this mythic tale with indelible images of the majestic and sacred buffalos charging through flood waters contrasted with the solitary rower gliding through the waters, each representing opposite phases of the spiritual and moving journey.
Besides being Vietnam’s entry in the 2006 Academy Awards, “Buffalo Boy” has competed at some of the most prestigious film festivals and won these awards:
Best Film, Palm Springs International Film Festival
Youth Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival
Grand Prix, Golden Unicorn, Amiens IFF, France
Best New Director, Silver Hugo award, Chicago IFF, U.S.
Best Director, Cape Town World Cinema Festival
First Jury’s prize feature film, Amazonas IFF, Brazil.
Grand Prix, Asian Marine Film Festival, Makuhari, Japan
Best Cinematography award, 50th Asian Pacific Film Festival.
Cultural and Art Award in Cinema, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Minh Nguyen-Vô grew up in a small town in Vietnam during the war. There was an American military airport on the outskirts of the town that attracted many incursions. To escape the fighting and atrocities all around, he spent a great deal of time of his youth in the only one-room movie theater in town. Except when there was fighting, he was able to watch at least one film every week from all around the world. Besides a coping mechanism, cinema became an escape for this eight-year-old boy from the war torn Vietnam of the 60’to the outside world. Nguyen-Vo went to France to study then continued in the US and became a physicist (Ph.D., UCLA). He was fascinated with the interaction between sound and light that became his main research subject for many years. His passion to follow his ideas from many different perspectives brought him back to cinema or maybe cinema came back to him. Buffalo Boy is Nguyen-Vo’s first feature.
Co-sponsored by Melnitz Movies.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Parking in Lot 3 costs $8.
Sponsor(s): Melnitz Movies