A Tale of Love

A film by Trinh T. Minh-ha

1995 | 108 minutes | Color | 35mm/DVD | Order No. 99421

SYNOPSIS

Portraying the Vietnamese immigrant experience through Kieu, A TALE OF LOVE follows the quest of a woman in love with ‘Love’. The film is loosely inspired by THE TALE OF KIEU, the Vietnamese national poem of love which Vietnamese people see as a mythical biography of their ‘motherland,’ marked by internal turbulence and foreign domination. A free-lance writer, Kieu also works as a model for a photographer who idealizes the headless female body and who captures Kieu sheathed by transparent veils. Voyeurism runs through the history of love narratives and voyeurism is here one of the threads that structures the ‘narrative’ of the film. Exposing the fiction of love in love stories and the process of consumption, A TALE OF LOVE marginalizes traditional narrative conventions and opens up a denaturalized space of acting where performed reality, memory and dream constantly pass into one another. Sublimely beautiful to watch, A TALE OF LOVE eloquently evokes an understanding of the allusive and powerful connections between love, sensuality, voyeurism and identity.

PRESS

“Trinh T. Minh-ha’s cinema is theoretically rigorous and intellectually demanding, certainly; but hers is also a cinema of great beauty, where the edges of difference rub against each other in stunning and challenging ways.”

Judith Mayne Ohio State University

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Berlin Film Festival
  • Toronto Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Trinh T. Minh-ha

TRINH T. MINH-HA
Born in Vietnam, Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and music composer. Her works include

Films: • WHAT ABOUT CHINA? (135 mins digital film, 2021), • FORGETTING VIETNAM (90 mins digital film, 2015), • NIGHT PASSAGE (98mins digital narrative film, 2004), • THE FOURTH DIMENSION (Japan, 87 mins digital film, 2001), • A TALE OF LOVE (108 mins 35mm narrative, 1995), • SHOOT FOR THE CONTENTS (China, 102 mins 16mm, 1991), • SURNAME VIET GIVEN NAME NAM (108 mins 16mm, 1989), • NAKED SPACES - LIVING IS ROUND (135 mins 16mm, 1985), and • REASSEMBLAGE (40 mins 16mm, 1982);
Books: including • Lovecidal. Walking with The Disappeared (2016), • D-Passage. The Digital Way (2013), • Elsewhere Within Here. Immigration, Refugeeism and The Boundary Event (2010); • The Digital Film Event (2005), • Cinema Interval (1999), • Framer Framed (1992), • When the Moon Waxes Red. Representation, Gender and Cultural politics (1991), Woman, Native, Other. Postcoloniality and Feminism (1989), • En minuscules (poems, 1987); and in collaboration with Jean-Paul Bourdier, • A World in Dwelling (2011), • Habiter un monde (Paris, 2006), • Drawn from African Dwelling (1996), •African Spaces - Designs for Living in Upper Volta (1985);
Large-scale multi-media installations: • “Nothing But Ways” (in coll. with LM Kirby, 1999, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco), • “The Desert is Watching” (2003, Kyoto Art Biennale), and • “L'Autre marche” (The Other Walk, 2006-2009 at Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, both in coll. with Jean-Paul Bourdier), • “Old Land New Waters”, Okinawa Fine Arts Museum (2007; 2009); Guangzhou Art Triennial in China (2008), Chechnya Emergency Biennale (2008), Le Quartier, Quimper, France ( 2016) , Museo Revoltella, Trieste, Italy (2018), and • “In Transit: Between and Beyond” (in coll. with LM Kirby, Manifesta 13, Marseille, France 2020).

The recipient of numerous awards and grants (including the 2014 Wild Dreamer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Subversive Festival in Zagreb, Croatia; the 2012 Women's Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award; the "Trailblazers" Award at MIPDOC, Cannes; AFI National Independent Filmmaker Maya Deren Award, her films have been honored in over 64 retrospectives-in Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Singapore, Korea, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Argentina, Croatia, Columbia, Mexico, Finland, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, the UK, the US—and were exhibited at the international contemporary art exhibition Documenta 11 (2002) in Germany. They have shown widely in the States, in Canada, Senegal, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as in Europe and Asia. Reassemblage was initially exhibited at The New York Film Festival (1983) and has since then become a classic of critical ethnographic films. Naked Spaces received the Blue Ribbon Award for Best Experimental Feature at the American Int'l. Film Festival and the Golden Athena Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Athens International Film Festival in 1986; it toured nationally and internationally with the 1987 Biennial of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Surname Viet Given Name Nam has received the Film as Art Award from the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SF Museum of Modern Art), the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film and Video Festival, and the Merit Award from the Bombay International Film Festival. Shoot for the Contents won the Jury's Best Cinematography Award at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival and the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Athens International Film Festival, and toured internationally with the 1993 Biennale of the Whitney Museum. A Tale of Love showed internationally in over twenty-four film festivals, including Berlin and Toronto. The Fourth Dimension (Locarno, Viennale, Edinburg, London), Night Passage (UK, Austria, Spain, Japan, Korea, Shanghai) and Forgetting Vietnam (Cinéma du Réel, Paris; Copenhagen; Singapore; Taiwan; Sweden; Vancouver and Montreal, Canada etc.) continue to exhibit widely.

Trinh Minh-ha has traveled and lectured extensively on film, art, feminism, and cultural politics. She taught at the National Conservatory of Music in Dakar, Senegal (1977-80); at universities such as Cornell, San Francisco State, Smith, and Harvard, Ochanomizu (Tokyo), Ritsumeikan (Kyoto), Dongguk (Seoul); and is Professor of The Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. (4/22)

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