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Surname Viet Given Name Nam
Assoc. produced by Jean-Paul Bourdier
Directed by Trinh T. Minh-ha
1989, 108 minutes, Color, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99371
Of marriage and loyalty: “Daughter, she obeys her father/ Wife, she obeys her husband/ Widow, she obeys her son.”

Vietnamese-born Trinh T. Minh-ha’s profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society. Using dance, printed texts, folk poetry and the words and experiences of Vietnamese women in Vietnam—from both North and South—and the United States, Trinh’s film challenges official culture with the voices of women. A theoretically and formally complex work, SURNAME VIET GIVEN NAME NAM explores the difficulty of translation, and themes of dislocation and exile, critiquing both traditional society and life since the war.


  • New Directors/New Films
  • Jerusalem Film Festival
  • Vancouver International Film Festival
  • Toronto Festival of Festivals
  • London International Film Festival
  • Films de Femmes, Créteil, France
  • Asian Pacific International Film Festival
  • Hawaii International Film Festival
  • Flying Broom International Film Festival

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    “A challenging and rewarding work that places Trinh T. Minh-ha as one of the leading American independent filmmakers.”
    New Directors/New Films

    “Keenly intelligent, sensuously multi-layered…Emotionally, the film leaves you with the courage and persistent strength of Vietnamese women.”
    Stuart Klawans
    The Nation

    “A visually striking film, weaving many elements into a rich tapestry of sights, sounds and ideas.”
    David Sterritt
    Christian Science Monitor

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us