Archives of Memory

Vietnamese American Films, Past and Present
Audience at Viet Film Fest

Publication Year: 2020


Vietnamese American filmmaking must be seen in the context of a community’s diasporic formations. As such, it maps out a politics of representation that encapsulates the issues of community and history that invariably striate the ways in which Vietnamese American films and videos have been produced, distributed, received, and archived.

At present, Vietnam’s own film archive—the Viện Phim in Hà Nội—offers a veritable trove of Vietnamese cinematic history but has also omitted texts that run counter to its narrative of nationhood, sacrifice, and revolution, making it at once rich and full of elisions. Missing from its collection are South Vietnamese films produced during the Vietnam War, often produced in collaboration with the U.S. government; diasporic films about the refugee or reeducation experience of the four million overseas Vietnamese, many of whom fled the revolutionary regime; and the large number of colonial films produced before the founding of the Democratic Re- public of Vietnam in 1945.

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