Nguyen Hoang Diep's motion picture Dap Canh Giua Khong Trung (Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere) won the best film category at the International Critics' Week, the independent sidebar of this year's Venice International Film Festival.
The film tells a story of a young woman desperately trying to find money for an abortion. The story comes to a head when she is confronted with the dilemma of accepting money from a man who is in love with her.
The director spoke to Culture Vulture about her first international prize.
What were your thoughts when Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere was announced as the winner?
What were my thoughts? My immediate thought was "I can't leave Venice".
Then, because films recognised by the Critics' Week are awarded certificates and not cash, I started worrying about how to afford a celebration for my family, friends and the movie crew.
Those were my only thoughts.
Why do you think your movie won Best Film? Do you think the prize will help your career?
Actually, I don't know. I'm not the kind of director who's in love with their film. During production I'm always unhappy or annoyed by something.
I'm just happy to see my film competing at the Venice film festival's Critics' Week. I was appreciative of the fact that it was successful enough to get to Venice, I didn't think much about the bigger prize.
I enjoy the festival atmosphere and I'm very happy to see my film flapping and soaring at the one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. I just wanted the film's cameraman and actress to be recognised.
I understand and know fully where I am. Art is creative. Everybody knows that praise is only of relative significance.
Tell us about the journey you took to get to Venice.
I will only talk about that journey with my students and colleagues. I don't want to tell the public because I don't want it to bother audiences. They deserve to watch and enjoy the film on its own.
The journey is not important. The journey of the film's main character is much more important than mine.
The film has yet to be released in Viet Nam. How do you think the film will be received?
After the upcoming screening at the Ha Noi International Film Festival (HANIFF) in November, the film will be shown in theatres if cinemas owners are willing.
I think the HANIFF audience will love my film. But when it goes to the general audience, I don't know. I don't know if audiences will buy tickets for my film instead of popular South Korean and American blockbusters.
I cannot guess. I suspect there's a possibility that some cinema owner who will be interested in my film. Why? Honestly, it's a very attractive film.
A famous film director once said that emerging filmmakers should try making films with many themes, and themes about community. Will you make such a film?
Sure, I would try if I find it interesting. But, my film is not just about sex, violation and homosexual love. The film is really about modern life and the loneliness of a woman. — VNS