LOVE MAN, LOVE WOMAN 2007
Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Nguyễn Trinh Thi’s documentary Love Man, Love Woman is about the lives of gay men in Vietnam, with focus on repression of identity in society. The film portrays Hanoian master Lưu Ngọc Đức, a famous spirit medium of the indigenous religion Dao Mau (Mother Goddess) in Vietnam, whose communities offer a haven to many gay Vietnamese. Here, the shamans, titled ‘dong co’, perform rites and rituals that include many celebratory elements such as dazzling altars, flamboyant costumes, and sumptuous rituals with candles, incense, sequins and feathers.
Nguyễn’s documentary sheds a light on a very unique group of religious practitioners whose gender and sexual identities don’t adhere to society’s binary standards. Like shaman Đức, many gay men turn to the Mau religion as a tolerant space where they can live true to themselves and appease their daily grief and struggle by serving as medium between the Mau deities and their followers. As Nguyễn followed the everyday life events of shaman Đức, he shared with her his understanding of the Mau religion and of himself as a gay man in Vietnamese society: a somewhat somber existence, always burning with the desire to find love and family, while resigning himself to a solitary fate. Shaman Đức acknowledges his ‘differences’, bemoaning them while taking pride in them at the same time. His perspectives on individual identities and expressions opens up discussions about how Vietnamese society adheres to dominant and mainstream expectations for men and women to perform, revealing how indigenous religions can alleviate such norms with alternate space of meaning.
Production: Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Cinematography and Camera: Nguyễn Trinh Thi, Jamie Maxtone-Graham
Editor: Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Soundtrack mix: Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Image post-production: Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Coordination of post-production: Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Graphic Design: Nguyễn Trinh Thi
Nguyễn Trinh Thi (b. 1973, Hanoi, Vietnam) is an artist, filmmaker and documentarian. Her diverse practice has consistently investigated the role of memory in the necessary unveiling of hidden, displaced or misinterpreted histories, often making use of original documentary footage or undertaking extensive investigative field work. Her moving image work is diverse, moving between documentary and experimental film, alongside multi-channel installations and performance.
Social Science and Collective Memory
Friday, 4 November, 2016