The series Đáng Sống by director Đặng Hồng Giang is currently screened at seven BHD cinemas and August Cinema in Hà Nội with English subtitle.

" />

Life’s worth it, says new documentary

November 23, 2016 - 09:00

The series Đáng Sống by director Đặng Hồng Giang is currently screened at seven BHD cinemas and August Cinema in Hà Nội with English subtitle.

Alive again: Tăng A Pẩu, a former businessman, finds happiness in taking pictures of birds. — Photo courtesy of Đặng Hồng Giang
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Director Đặng Hồng Giang has a habit of sitting in the back rows of a cinema hall to watch the audience as they watch his films.

When he did that during the premiere of his latest documentary series Đáng Sống (It’s Worth Living), he was moved as the audience smiled and cried.

The series, currently being screened at seven BHD cinemas and August Cinema in Hà Nội with English subtitles, includes three documentaries: Mầm Sống (Bud of Life), Đáng Sống (It’s Worth to Live) and Một Con Đường (One Way).


Bud of Life is the story of twin boys who were born thanks to love and science.

Dr Lê Vương Văn Vệ, director general of the Andrology, Infertility Hospital of Hà Nội, helped Hoàng Thị Kim Dung gave birth to the two boys with an in-vitro fertilization technique (IVF) using frozen sperm from the father who’d died three years earlier in a traffic accident.

"Three years after my husband’s death, I had two sons," said Dung.

"Many people whispered behind my back that I have another man. Some people also thought that preserving sperm from a dead person is very weird. I also felt nervous about my ability to raise three children (we have one daughter before the accident). I faced many troubles."

The first such case ever in Việt Nam was an achievement of the Vietnamese medicine, the love that Dung bore her husband, and her courageous decision. Both Dung and Dr Vệ were very brave, overcoming all obstacles to germinate life and love.

Tăng A Pẩu from HCM City is the main character in the second documentary, It’s Worth to Live. As a businessman, his life is full of parties and feasts with friends and partners. One day, he is informed that he has about eight months to live because of a malign tumor in his liver.

Pẩu does not want to die. He believes in life though the probability of a successful surgery is very small. After the surgery, he bought a camera and went to the forest, taking photographs of nature and birds.

Now, he treasures the photographs of 500 birds found in Việt Nam, including several rare species. He found joy, hope and happiness as he waited for the birds and captured their movements and moments. Life became more precious than ever. He has lived a healthy life, miraculously, for 11 years after the surgery.

The last film, One Way, depicts the hard life of farmers in a poor village in the central province of Quảng Trị, where they eke out a living by looking for unexploded ordnance (UXO) left by the American forces, to sell as scrap metal.

They live on exhausted soil where it is very difficult to grow any crop. And when they dig their fields and gardens, build house and engage in other activities that require digging, they find pieces of the unexploded lethal weapons. The scraps they collected are sold to factories to be recycled. The risky work has taken many lives and left many people severely handicapped.

Nguyễn Ngọc Triệu is an experienced finder. However, like other villagers, he doesn’t really know when he might have an accident. This is the only work he can do.

Nguyễn Hồng Gấm, who watched the documentary, said she couldn’t stop crying on seeing Triệu sell the scraps. One day, he collects about 7kg of iron scrap and gets VNĐ21,000 (US$1). He tries to bargain with the buyer, saying the big shell he found is worth VNĐ100,000 ($4.5). The dangerous work helps him earn money for his son, a university student.

“I felt hurt because after all the hard and dangerous working days, villagers like Triệu are risking their lives for a few pennies, and they have no choice,” said Gấm.

The story of Triệu ends with the graduation ceremony of his son. Triệu embraces his son and both of them shed happy tears. The poor father feels all the difficulties were worth it.

Director Giang said each story opens up an escape from this stormy life.

“Whenever I face difficulties, I think of Triệu’s work and I stop complaining,” he said.

“I want to send a message that we should think in positive ways even when we’re in a hopeless situation. There’s always an escape. Just find it.” — VNS