Vietnamese-born Trinh T. Minh-ha’s profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society.
1989 | 108 minutes | Color | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99371
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.
“Independent in thought and delicate in craftsmanship, strung with the tensile strength of a piano wire.”
“A challenging and rewarding work that places Trinh T. Minh-ha as one of the leading American independent filmmakers.”
“Keenly intelligent, sensuously multi-layered…Emotionally, the film leaves you with the courage and persistent strength of Vietnamese women.”
“A visually striking film, weaving many elements into a rich tapestry of sights, sounds and ideas.”
SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS
- Films de Femmes, Creteil, France
- Toronto Festival of Festivals
- New Directors/New Films
- Jerusalem Film Festival
- Vancouver International Film Festival
- London International Film Festival
- Asian Pacific International Film Festival
- Hawaii International Film Festival
- Flying Broom International Film Festival
Trinh T. Minh-ha
Born in Vietnam, Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and music composer. Her works include: eight films: FORGETTING VIETNAM (90 mins, 2015), NIGHT PASSAGE (98mins narrative, 2004), THE FOURTH DIMENSION (87 min Digital Video, 2001), A TALE OF LOVE (108 mins, 1995), an experimental narrative, SHOOT FOR THE CONTENTS (102 mins, 1991), a film on culture, art and politics in China, SURNAME VIET GIVEN NAME NAM (108 mins, 1989), a film on identity and culture through the struggle of Vietnamese women, NAKED SPACES - LIVING IS ROUND (135 mins, 1985), and REASSEMBLAGE (40 mins, 1982); twelve 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 (on film, 1992), When the Moon Waxes Red, (on representation, gender and cultural politics, 1991), Woman, Native, Other (on post-coloniality and feminism, 1989), En minuscules (poems, 1987), and in coll. 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); and four large-scale multi-media installations: Nothing But Ways (in coll. with L M Kirby, 1999, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco), The Desert is Watching (in coll. with Jean-Paul Bourdier, 2003, Kyoto Art Biennale), L'Autre marche (The Other Walk) June 2006 until 2009 at the new Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (France, also in coll. with J-P Bourdier), and Old Land New Waters that was commissioned for the opening of the Okinawa Fine Arts Museum in November 2007; exhibited anew in 2009 and was also showing at the Guangzhou Art Triennial in China (Sept 6 to Nov 16, 2008).
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, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute, The Japan Foundation, and the California Arts Council), her films have been given over forty eight retrospectives in Argentina, Croatia, Columbia, Mexico, Finland, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Korea, 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 (including in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Japan, India, Taiwan, Jerusalem. REASSSEMBLAGE was initially exhibited at The New York Film Festival (1983) and had toured the country with the Asian American Film Festival among numerous other festivals. 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 Merit Award from the Bombay International Film Festival, the Film as Art Award from the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SF Museum of Modern Art) and the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film and Video 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) and NIGHT PASSAGE continue to exhibit widely (UK, Austria, Spain, Japan, Korea, Shanghai).
Trinh Minh-ha has traveled and lectured extensively - in the States, as well as in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand - 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 Gender & Women's Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. (11/19)
Jean-Paul Bourdier is a French born photographer of unique style, skilled passion and compelling imagination. His images balance across the nexus of multiple crafts – among them painting, poetry, and performance art. He is the author of "Leap into the Blue," and "Bodyscapes," (co -authored by Trinh T. Minh), and has won the Guggenheim, American Council of Learned Societies, NEA, Graham, UC President’s Humanities and Getty awards. He is also a Professor of Architecture, Photography and Visual Studies at UC Berkeley and has worked as a production designer for seven films, co - directing two with Trinh Minh. Bourdier. (01/20)