Plaza Voices: Best Vietnamese Films

Cover of Khi người ta yêu phần 1
Cover of Paris by Night 40 Cover of Asia 73 Cover of Duyên nợ miền tây

Did you know that there are almost 10,000 items in Vietnamese within the Denver Public Library collection? The majority of these items are housed at the Barnum Branch Library, where DPL’s Vietnamese speakers come on a regular basis to check out DVDs, books and CDs.

Many outside of the Barnum area are unaware that this collection exists, and there are those, like myself, who simply find it intriguing and mysterious. In order to learn more, I asked Sao T. to give some recommendations for the best Vietnamese movies at DPL. Sao first came to the US in 1978 and has been working for DPL for over 20 years. Many of the Vietnamese items in the collection are a result of her hard work and selection, and I am pretty sure that there isn’t a single Vietnamese customer at DPL who doesn’t know who Sao is. Here are some of her top choices, and what she had to say about them:

Khi người ta yêu phần 1
Sao said that out of all the Vietnamese movies, this one is an absolute “must see.” This movie tells the story of a family in turmoil from multiple perspectives. On one hand, there is a mother, Lam Xuan Hoa and her two sons, the shy and quiet Lam An Binh and the more outgoing, emotional Lam An An. While she works hard to keep her family happy and further her career, her husband Vuong Van Cuong is unfaithful and becomes extremely smitten with another woman (to the point that he will do just about *anything* to be with her). One of the most interesting things about this movie is the very different perspectives it portrays.

Paris by night 40, Me
Vietnam’s version of “America’s Got Talent”-- this is a classic variety TV show from Vietnam, featuring great music, cultural performances, sketch comedy and dancers with traditional costumes. Sao said that this would be a good show to watch for those who are just starting to learn about Vietnamese culture. One interesting fact about Paris by Night is that despite its extreme popularity among Vietnamese speakers, copies of it still cannot be purchased legally in Vietnam, due to its classification as a “reactionary cultural product.”

Asia 73, MÙA HÈ RỰC RỠ 2013
Similar to Paris by Night, Asia Entertainment brings the best Vietnamese performers together for “excellent family entertainment at any time.” The 73rd installment is the newest one we have.

Duyên nợ miền tây
This movie tells another love story. It is about a young woman, Thuy, who returns to her hometown after graduating from college, where she is reunited with a young man she knew growing up, Dinh. Their families have also known each other for many years. It is about rediscovering old friendships that were long forgotten. According to Sao, it is a “very fascinating story.”

Want to learn more about the Vietnamese language? Check out Mango Languages’ excellent introductory course, available through the Denver Public Library. Thưởng thức!

-- Desiree S. and Sao T., Barnum Branch Library

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