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.
Nguyễn Trinh Thi studied journalism, photography, international relations and ethnographic films in the United States. She graduated with a BA in Russian and English, Hanoi Foreign Studies College, Hanoi (1994), a Master in Professional Journalism, University of Iowa, Iowa (1999), and a Master of Pacific International Affairs, University of California, San Diego (2005).
Based in Hanoi, she founded and directs Hanoi DOCLAB, a center for documentary films and the moving image since 2009.
In 1832, Panduranga, the last remaining territory of the Champa kingdom, was annexed by emperor Minh Mang of Dai Viet (ancient Vietnam). Now renamed Ninh Thuan province, the spiritual heart of this two-thousand-year matriarchal Hindu culture is again facing existential threats as the Vietnamese government plans to build the country’s first two nuclear power plants on its site. 'Letters from Panduranga', reflecting the form of a letter exchange between a man and a woman, responds to the plight of the Cham people, an ethnic minority culturally struggling under a government that refuses to acknowledge and respect its legitimation.
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. 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.
Theme: Social Science and Collective Memory