Publication Date: 2014
Examining two Vietnamese films, one made in the North in 1959, and another produced in the South during the American War in 1971, this article contends that Vietnam’s landscape serves as an affective site for a gendered construction of nationalism within key moments in Vietnamese history. In analyzing the attachments that the Vietnamese and Vietnamese diaspora feel towards their country, I explore a topic rarely discussed in US film scholarship and historicize these filmmaking efforts to demarcate a different way of viewing Vietnam in film. This study demonstrates the importance of understanding how gender and affect are projected onto landscapes in a national cinema like Vietnam’s. More exactingly, it emphasizes that affects underlying Vietnamese nationhood and war are undergirded by the political economy of film and filmmaking. My arguments point to the modes of production and circulation of film, which shape the making of affect in Vietnam War discourse. My analyses are framed by the questions: how is affect inscribed in Vietnamese film, and what are its effects on notions of belonging and nationhood? In what ways has affect traveled about Vietnam in the past and present moment? Who is able to access such representations, and why does this matter?