Our Vân

Opening with writer Viet Thanh Nguyen’s meditation on the ongoing destruction of war from the battlefield and into our memories, Our Vân is a personal, counter-archive aesthetic of a Vietnamese American family experience, told through a photo album that destabilizes the institutionalized, American-centered imperial archive of the Vietnam War. This short film identifies and rescripts popular damage-centered/model minority refugee narratives into an open-ended, imaginative story–one that acknowledges both one’s agency and complacency in the perpetuation of a violence found in our personal choices of silencing certain stories. To begin dissolving the reductive frameworks of the overdetermined hardworking, tender Vietnamese refugee finding refuge in the American Dream, Our Vân turns to the power of oral storytelling to wrest submerged Vietnamese subjectivities from their silenced states. Trauma is not resolved nor omnipresent. Our Vân, a bilingual wordplay on my Vietnamese name, Mỹ Vân, and the metaphorical concept of a collective history/futurity, becomes a liberatory act of taking control over how events/people are named or framed–and thus, remade and remembered–in history and their following futures.
Production Team