Keenly intelligent, sensuously multilayered… Emotionally, Surname Viet Given Name Nam leaves you with an impression of the courage and persistent strength of Vietnamese women, not in terms of propaganda-poster heroics but on the human level.
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SVGNN is an unconventional and refined documentary, wherein themes of postwar trauma, expatriation, equivocal identity, patriarchal society, oppression of Vietnamese women.. are interwoven with Trinh's reflections on cultural translation and documentary filmmaking practices. My only gripe is the frustrating inadequacy of subtitles for the heavily and oftentimes unintelligibly accented English albeit deliberately so.