Má Sài Gòn (Mother Saigon)

Mother Saigon

Em đứng lên mùɑ Xuân νừɑ mở
Nụ xuân xɑnh cành thênh thɑng
Ϲhim νề νào ngàу tuổi em trên cành bão bùng

(Here I stand as the spring arrives,
With the greens blossomed and trees abundant,
And the birds returned to these windy branches, having grown old as me)

The lyrics from the song Gọi Tên Bốn Mùa (Name of the four seasons, 1974) by Khánh Ly, the “diva of Saigon”, represent the motif of diasporic return and Buddhist-Asian belief in cycle of life. This motif can be found commonly amongst diasporic Vietnamese artists who left the country, one of them being the filmmaker Khoa Lê. It is this song that appears as a closing soundtrack to his film Mother Saigon, which, during Khoa’s return journey, weaves poems written by queer locals with queer kinships in today’s Ho Chi Minh city.

A performing trope (perhaps “drag”) house, a couple in their pre- and post-gender transition, a party scene, a biological family in process of accepting, and a comment on politics of representation… This “symphony” film pays homage to the notion of home: By calling it “Má”, it is a bittersweet ode to a comforting yet disturbing mother, to a city that is as liberating as it is oppressive. To queer lives and generations that grow old and flourish.

by Khoa Lê

Canada, 2023

(English subtitles)

98 min.


Il Kino
02.06.2024 – 19:00

Mavi Kimlik (Blue ID)
Closing Night Shorts – Falling Into Place