DAY BY DAY 2014-2015
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai
What makes a community leave everything behind in search of a new land? Is it the perpetual hope for a better life? These are questions that Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai wishes to explore in her film Day by Day.
In 1975, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army marched into Phnom Penh and effectively seized control of Cambodia. Many Vietnamese people who resided in Cambodia up until that point decided to flee the oppressive regime and return to Vietnam, deciding to return after Pol Pot was deposed in 1978. Such border-crossing, taking place without official paperwork, becomes the central theme of the lives of these communities, and with it comes unforeseen consequences: absence of governmental support and thus lack of identity papers, unstable livelihood, and a bleak future for their undocumented, uneducated children. Day by Day is a phrase that Thanh Mai heard everyday from the villagers while undertaking her extensive research in the two Vietnamese communities in Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia and Long An province, Vietnam. It draws the picture of their precarious future, working hard only with the goal of surviving until the next day.
While the film presents a set of circumstances that are specific to the ongoing political tensions between Vietnam and Cambodia, it also intersects with broader, more universal, concepts of nation/state boundary, power of citizenship, and impact of human migration – all melancholically portrayed through the artist’s sympathetic lens.
Writer, Director, Producer: Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai
Director of Photography, Editor: Tạ Minh Đức
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai's (b. 1983, Hanoi) practice focuses on issues of the female body, sex, and constructed social values that affect women. Nguyễn’s works usually challenge and open up these issues, confronting power relations, confronting the power relations between fear and desire, through experimentations with particular material and the evocation of bodily transgression. Most recently, her interests have shifted to examine the cause of human migration and statelessness.
Thursday, 3 November, 2016