Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia
Finding Phong

Vietnam’s Award-Winning Documentary About a Trans Woman (via Saigoneer)

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A critically acclaimed documentary about a member of Vietnam’s trans community will finally see an official premiere in Vietnam next month.

Finding Phong, or Di Tim Phong in Vietnamese, tells the story of the titular character, a trans woman named Le Anh Phong who documented the journey from when she decided to undergo sex reassignment surgery to her life after the medical procedure.

The documentary was directed by Tran Phuong Thao and French director Swann Dubus, and released by Blue Productions in Vietnam. It will premiere in Vietnam for the first time on October 2 at a Galaxy Cineplex.

Phong was born in Quang Ngai, but works at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi. Assigned as a male at birth, she has always known that her identity is female. That’s why, when she was 27, she decided to fulfill her dream by undergoing a sex reassignment operation in Thailand. This happened in 2013, after a year female hormone treatment.

In Finding Phong, she’s not a passive character, and more often than not, a commentator, narrator and even filming technician. Montages are interspersed with video diary clips that she recorded herself, often talking to her mother about what she’s going through: the first time she takes female hormone pills, her fear, her hopes for the future, etc.

“I wanted to keep some memories of the years when I was still a man. But I also wanted to show people that transgender people are just like anyone else, desiring happiness,” Phong told Thanh Nien in an interview in 2015 about the documentary. “I hoped it would be some kind of encouragement and guidance for other trans people who are still hesitant and lost about which direction to take.”

 

Read more on Saigoneer.

ArtsEquator Radar features articles and posts drawn from local and regional websites and publications – aggregated content from outside sources, so we are exposed to a multitude of voices in the region.

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