Father and Son – Review by Gursimran Datla

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Father and Son – Review
Film – 88:40 – Vietnam
Mon. July 3 – 6:45 PM

ReelHEART Film Festival, Toronto

We are not Cities. We are Humans!

Father And Son’ is a visually stunning film, that revolves around the happiness and tragedy of a single-father Moc and his 6-year-old son Ca, who lived near a river-bank, somewhere in Vietnam. This Film is a directorial debut of Vietnamese filmmaker Luong Dinh Dung, who recently has nominated for prestigious “Remi Award” at 50th Annual Worldfest Houston International Film Festival this year for this film.

Wrote almost 22 years ago by Luong Dung himself, ‘Father and Son’ opens with a remote but picturesque village, where Moc is surviving with his kid by catching and selling fish. The blend of nature and innocent characters take us to the traditional Vietnamese scenario and the stillness of their lives, which are masterfully photographed in this thoughtful film.

The story moved with the dreams and curiosity of ‘Ca’ and his other little friends who are keen on planes, which they call ‘bird from the city’ and other nuances of city life. So in the flood season when Moc and Ca, with other community members, move uphill, it’s the routine of kids to listen the story of the city from ‘Uncle Blind’ who once worked in that city, building the “Future House’ ( largest skyscraper ). ‘Uncle blind’ lost his eyes by working construction in that building.

Going through the beautiful imagery of mountains, fog, river, fish and a tragedy of losing a family due to flood, people return back to the Riverbank and build their house again from the scratch.

Meanwhile, the community members suggest Moc should get married again, but before Moc can think further on this, Ca becomes terribly ill. When traditional herbs from the forest don’t work, Moc takes Ca to the hospital in the nearest city.

Metaphorically, the film makes a transition from the calm life of Riverbank to the noisy, polluted and hurtled world of city full of tall buildings and, the “future house of blind man” right, opposite that hospital. This reminds me of Chinese Filmmaker ‘Jia Zhangke’s film ‘Still Life’ which is also based on the similar themes of the gap between cities and Riverbank areas.

Moc must find a way to get his son proper healthcare which of course, is equal of catching 160,000 fishes. When recovered, Ca wants to go on that ‘future house of blind’. Metaphorically, the hospital becomes a partition between the reality and the dreams.

The film has superbly crafted soundtrack by Korean composer Lee Dong Jun, the artist behind the sounds of many of that country’s popular movies like “Miracle in Cell No. 7” and “Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War”.

On the hospital bed, Ca dreams about the boat, river, and fish. On the other hand, Moc worries about collecting money for Ca’s treatment. Will Moc successfully take Ca to the ‘future house of blind man’’ where only people with good clothes can go ? Where dreams and reality intersects?

The mesmerizing story “Father and Son” opens the 13th Annual ReelHeART International Film and Screenplay Festival, Toronto, Canada on July 03rd

ReelHeART runs until 08 July 2017. Book your tickets now!

Gursimran Datla @gursimrandatla

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