11.17.09 – Last week, a large audience of students, community leaders, parents, children, and people of different age and race gathered in a packed lecture hall at Harvard College for the highly anticipated screening of Dung Dot (Don’t Burn).
A usual skeptic of Vietnamese-made film, I was hesistant about attending this screening because of my previous negative experiences with poorly written scripts, cheesy lines, uninteresting plots, and low budget cinematography. I’m sure many of you have heard cheesy Viet lines and have cringed as a result. Or maybe romantic lines just get lost in translation… Why does the expression of love sound so much better in English than in other languages – “I love you” vs. “Anh yeu em?”
But this isn’t a movie about love – at least not the type between a man and a woman. It’s about the love for the sick and poor. It’s about the love of a physician for his or her patient. Ultimately it’s about humanity and the triumphs of the human soul beyond politics, bullets, wars, and even time.
Racing out of the clinic in my scrubs, I quickly ran home to put on a presentable outfit for the evening. And with two other friends, we made our way from the Longwood medical campus to Cambridge.
Dung Dot, a movie directed by Dang Nhat Minh (who was present that evening to answer questions post screening), presented the interlocking experiences of an American soldier and a North Vietnamese doctor on the front line during the Vietnam War. The American soldier, Fred, discovers a diary belonging to Dang Thuy Tram, an army doctor volunteer. Tram’s diary details her vivid life and death experience caring for the wounded in the jungles of Vietnam. Tram’s most moving thoughts were the romantic emotions and longing for her loved ones, her patients, and her people. Fred, disobeying army orders to burn unrelated artifacts, hangs on to the Tram’s diary. The diary ironically becomes Fred’s source of strenght throughout the hardship of the way. Feeling indebted to Tram and her family, Fred thirty years later goes on a journey to return the diary to Tram’s family in Vietnam.
This is an intelligent film layered with life lessons. Politics aside, it reaches deep down and touches your heart.
Interested? Please check out these trailers. See the film if you can!
Hooked? Check out this award-winning hip and sexy new film called Passport to Love.