A project about Vietnamese identities across borders
Five young authors from the North and the South of Vietnam and four second-generation Vietnamese writers from the Czech Republic, Germany, France and the US write short plays of five minutes length on what Vietnam means to them. Each piece draws upon personal experience and questions of cultural identity. The project presently requests financial support for the film production of the five Vietnamese plays.
A cooperation of the Goethe-Institut Vietnam & the literary online magazine Zzz Review.
Four second-generation Vietnamese writers from the Czech Republic, Germany, France and the US, and five young authors from the North and the South of Vietnam write short plays of five minutes length on what Vietnam means to them. Each piece draws upon personal experience and questions of cultural identity.
Each piece will be performed in a non-theater-space that will be recorded. The plays will be performed and filmed in the language of the respective writers. Each audio-visual recording will be subtitled in English, Vietnamese and German and placed online onto the project-landing page of the Goethe-Institut. This creates a basis for an important cultural dialogue across boundaries.
This fundraising serves to finance the five plays by the Vietnamese authors. The four productions from Germany, France, the Czech Republic and the USA are financially secure.
A Buddhist nun recalls her past lives, which span over myths and realities, fiction and nonfiction, ancient and modern times. She is contemplates the (Viet/Vietnamese) female experience of disappointment, suffering, love and enlightenment.
2. Coke, water, spinach, garlic by Do Van Hoang
During an anxiety- and suspicion-laden trip to Germany to attend a prestigious art exhibition, a man ruminates on the day in the 1990s when as a boy he emerged for the first time from the refugee camp in Hong Kong, where escapees from Vietnam had ended up, to buy vegetables.
3. The Vietnamese Restaurant by Le Khai Viet
A couple who are saving money to open a Vietnamese restaurant overseas contemplate on the type of restaurant they would run and on the multicultural complexities related to the fate of their family and their country.
4. The Room by Vu Anh Duong
A young woman comes back to her childhood home in Saigon and meets the original owner, who after fleeing after 1975 and becoming a Vietnamese-American, now lives in Vietnam and is the new owner of the house. They share their memories of living in the house amid the upheavals of Vietnamese history.
5. How, for heaven’s sake, can you call yourself a poet? by Chu Kim (Nguyen Anh Tuan)
A conversation between a young avant-garde poet, all ties with his birth place severed, and two elderly traditional lyricists. What does it mean to be a Vietnamese writer, what does poetry to patriotism? Conflicting opinions emerge.
Vu Anh Duong (*1985) is a screenwriter, film critic and lecturer in Communication and Film Studies at various universities such as Hutech, Hoa Sen, FPT. He is also a judge in several film competitions, and runs a Facebook page dedicated to cinema named Vivacinema.
Do Van Hoang (*1987) is a filmmaker and writer. He graduated from Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema, major in Screenwriting in 2011. He has been working as a writer and director since then and created a number of works, including short fictions/documentaries, video art, TV series and music videos. His films were screened in Hanoi DocFest, Yamagata Film Festival, Centre Pompidou, Guangdong Times Museum, and documenta 15.
ChuKim (*1988) is a writer of short stories and poetry. He is also an expert in Vietnamese comics and earns his living as an architect.
Le Khai Viet (*1983) is a writer with one collection of short stories published in book form and numerous book reviews published in magazines. He also teaches business law at Troy University (Alabama) - STU campus. He works primarily as foreign rights manager of Phuong Nam Book, an established publisher.
The Goethe-Institut is a non-profit German cultural association operational worldwide with 158 institutes, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations.
Wilfried Eckstein (* 1956, Karlsruhe) studied German, English, History and Political Science at the Universities of Heidelberg, Frankfurt am Main and Princeton, New Jersey. He has worked for the Goethe-Institut since 1988. His international posts were Moscow (1991-1996), St. Petersburg (1999-2003), Bangkok (2003-2008), Shanghai (2009-2011), Washington DC (2012-2016) and Hanoi (since 2017). His efforts to deepen cultural relations between Germany and Vietnam brought fruit to the publication of an anthology of shorts stories by 10 Vietnamese writers (born after 1969) in German language. Other results of collaborative character with Vietnam was the famous summer Academy for Musicians and Dancers with Heiner Goebbels (2018), the stage productions four new approaches to Nguyen Du’s Truyen Kieu with three Vietnamese and one German stage directors (2019), the introduction of Sophocles play Antigone to the Vietnamese stage through six Vietnamese directors and stage performances. This project “My Vietnam” wants to enhance the international conversation about Vietnamese culture identity in the world and involves Vietnamese authors and so-called Viet-Kieus from Germany, Czech Republic, France and the US.
Quyen Nguyen (*1984) is the co-founder and Chief Editor of Zzz Review, a nonprofit online literary review in Vietnam. She earned her BA in Literature from Vietnam National University, Hanoi in 2006. She holds a Phd in English literature from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with a dissertation on James Joyce. Her research interests include Literary Theory, James Joyce, Irish Literature, Modernism, Postmodernism, Translation Studies, and Contemporary Literature. Her works have been published by Palgrave Macmillan. Quyen is also an English-Vietnamese translator with more than 14 years of experience; her published translations include "What we talk about when we talk about love" by Raymond Carver (co-translated), “Atonement” by Ian McEwan, “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides.