Cast: Hong Dao, Lanh Thanh, Vo Dien Gia Huy
Official Selection, 2019 Busan International Film Festival
A clandestine meeting in an outdoor shower stall on a rainy day. Dancing to a slow folk ballad at a local carnival while unable to touch, instead engrossed by the other’s longing gaze. This is the mode of desire under which GOODBYE MOTHER operates, and queer repression has never felt so perfect. Part coming-out story and part family dramedy, the film follows a young man named Nâu Vân (Lãnh Thanh), who has invited his boyfriend Ian (Võ Điền Gia Huy) from the United States back to his hometown in the Vietnamese countryside when the anniversary of his father’s death poses a fruitful chance to introduce his lover and come out to his family.
Funny and deeply moving, filmmaker Trinh Dinh Le Minh’s first feature poignantly captures the difficulties of navigating the suffocating strictures of tradition, patriarchy, and the panoptic gaze of rural domestic space, as Nâu is caught between the expectations bestowed upon him as the eldest grandson, his sexuality, and a sense of shame for betraying his filial duties while living in the US. It’s also a comic delight, full of hilarious misrecognition and a lovable grandma. This is Vietnam’s answer to Love Simon–a heart-tugging portrait of family and acceptance, and a testament to the country’s ever-changing tides.
Co-Presented by Louie Nguyen