Vietnamese Documentary Film “Children of the Mist” in Top 15 for 2023 Oscars Nomination
The Vietnamese documentary film "Children of the Mist" tells the story of a girl named Di, Hmong ethnic minority group, who was brought up with many villages customs that she's against but had no choice but to live with.
Video: Film Movement YouTube Channel
The film was made after three years filmmaker Ha Le Diem spent with Di's family, at one point she even became Di's friend and protector. Even though Diem is also from an ethnic minority group of Vietnam, what Di experienced in daily life, especially the old-school customs, is very different for Diem's.
To many local and international viewers, Diem's film is a window to learn about the Hmong community in the mountains of North Vietnam.
|"Children of the Mist" page on IMDb.com (Screenshot from IMDb.com).|
From beginning to end, the film stays true to its documental nature of retention of information, showing the real sides of life for teenage girls in remote areas of Vietnam, smart, bright children who want nothing but the freedom to decide their own lives.
A film review made by Guy Lodge from Variety commented that "Children of the Mist" has done an excellent job operating both close-quarters character study and wider ethnographic portrait. Guy claimed the film is "a rare, dedicated view of Vietnam’s little-represented Hmong population".
The foreign critic is most impressed with the clear, radiantly expressive heroine in Di that was portrayed in the film, saying that "few coming-of-age protagonists have ever faced such an impossible arc."
|“Children of the Mist” is included in the top 15 for Best Documentary Feature Film of the 95th Oscar Academy Awards. Screenshot from Adda247.|
On the other hand, in many press covers, "Children of the Mist" by director Ha Le Diem is spotlighted for its storytelling impact and visual components, which leave international audiences intrigued.
According to Phuong Le from The Guardian, there are many times Ha Le Diem attempts to protect Di by reasoning with kidnappers, but is pushed away; she admits to the young girl later that she did not anticipate the tradition could be so brutal.
"The decision to leave in such details is particularly thought-provoking, fracturing the supposed neutrality of documentary filmmakers," commented Phuong Le.
For Panos Kotzathanasis from Asianmoviepulse.com, he cannot turn away from one particular scene where Di screamed as she thought her life was in dangered, even though it was, in his words, "shattering, rather hard to watch".
The Vietnamese female director left an impression on him by breaking one of the rules of the documentary when she interfered in the life of the main character Di. He wrote: “Children of the Mist” is an excellent documentary that showcases an appalling phenomenon with brutal realism and through a rather artful approach."
According to IMDb.com, Ha Le Diem's debut film has received 11 awards and 14 nominations worldwide. The film is the winner of "Award for Best Directing" and of "First Appearance Award - Special Mention" at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Awards 2021 (IDFA 2021) in The Netherlands.
|Ha Le Diem (first from right) at the award ceremony (Photo: TPD Centre).|
At the DocAviv Film Festival 2022, it won "Best International Film" and was praised for its colorful and vivid photography, combined with intelligent editing.
"With a clear eye and open heart, maturity, sensitivity, and without compromising the craft of her filmmaking, Ha Le Diem's gives life to a truly unique yet universal and political real-life story." - a statement made by the DocAviv Film Festival.
"Children of the Mist also won the "Jury Prize" for Documentary at Hong Kong International Film Festival 2022. The jury called it "a documentary made by a very talented first-time director with exceptional access, a well-crafted dramaturgy, and some of the most heartbreaking scenes in recent documentary memory."
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