Dung dot, trong do da co lua (Don’t Burn it, it’s already on fire) is based on the war diary of female medic Dang Thuy Tram, published in 15 different countries and read by millions. At the age of twenty-four, Dang Thuy Tram volunteered to serve as a doctor in a National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) battlefield hospital in Quang Ngai Province. Two years later she was killed by American forces not far from where she worked. Written between 1968 and 1970, her diary speaks poignantly of her devotion to family and friends, the horrors of war, her yearning for her high school sweetheart, and her struggle to prove her loyalty to her country. At times raw, at times lyrical and youthfully sentimental, her voice transcends cultures to speak of her dignity and compassion and of her challenges in the face of the war’s ceaseless fury. The American intelligence officer who discovered the diary soon after Dr. Tram’s death was under standing orders to destroy all documents without military value. As he was about to toss it into the flames, the Vietnamese translator said to him, “Don’t burn this one. . . . It has fire in it already.” Against regulations, the officer preserved the diary and kept it for thirty-five years. The diary was eventually published in Vietnam, causing a national sensation, and then translated into English under the name Last Night I Dreamed of Peace by Andrew X. Pham with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize winner Frances Fitzgerald. The book was published on September 11, 2007 by the Random Publishing House. In the film, Dang Nhat Minh juxtaposes the beautiful scenery in Vietnam with the brutal reality of war. —yale.edu
Đặng Nhật Minh was born into a family of scholars and patriots in the ancient imperial capital of Hue in 1938.
His father, professor and wartime martyr Đặng Văn Ngữ, was a well-known doctor who was honored with the Hồ Chí Minh Award for his great medical contributions. Last year, Minh was also bestowed the same award for his contributions to the arts.
Minh translated Russian films before starting as a documentary filmmaker in 1965. He has also worked as a journalist, writer and served as the general secretary of the Vietnamese Cinema Association for 10 years from 1989.
He has won three Gold Lotus and four Silver Lotus awards for his films at the Vietnam Film Festival and many other prizes at other national film festivals.
He was the first Vietnamese director to win the prestigious Nikkei Asia prize for Culture in 1999.
Minh also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to the Asian film industry at the fifth Gwangju… read more