Posted at 4:33 PM on June 1, 2007
by Euan Kerr
History is all a matter of perspective and "Journey from the Fall," Ham Tran's tale of the Vietnamese boatpeople, provides a perspective never seen before on the big screen.
This is a powerful drama about a south Vietnamese family torn apart after the US withdrawal from Saigon. Long (Long Nguyen) and Mai (Diem Lien) get caught in the communist advance. Long is sent to a re-education camp where he faces starvation, beatings and the ever-present threat of sudden death through landmines left in the fields where he works.
Mai tries to survive with her son Lai, and her mother-in-law Ba Noi (Kieu Chinh) but eventually they have to leave and risk border guards and pirates to escape to the USA.
There they are safe, but they cannot shake their grief and sense of loss, which is made worse by the lack of understanding of the people around them.
Perhaps most remarkable is the way refugees re-connect often by chance, and spread news of the disappeared and rekindle hope.
It's a simple and much repeated story. One hundred thousand boatpeople left Vietnam and settled in communities around the world.
This is the first time it has been told by a Vietnamese cast and crew. The money for the film was raised entirely by the Vietnamese-American community in California. This is one family's story that speaks for a community.