The Journey of Vaan Nguyen (2005) Poster

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AlaskanFan13 April 2009
Hoiami Nguyen is the name of the father. Vaan Nguyen is the name of his daughter. I think Vaan is the eldest of 5 daughters. This documentary is excellent. It reveals much about the cultures of contemporary Israel, Tel-Aviv and Jaffa (the section where the Nguyens live) and Viet Nam and compares them to the cultures of 40 years ago. Frankly, it is heartbreaking and sad to see this hardworking, cheerful man receive so many disappointments. I wish that I could remain as cheerful as Hoiami, but evidently I'm not as strong as he is. His daughter Vaan is bright and beautiful, and sad for a completely different reason: she isn't home anywhere, and it bothers her. This journey isn't about Hoiami's trip to Vietnam, it's about Vaan's realization that she is a stranger in a strange land everywhere she goes. This is a tear-jerker on many levels.
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Loosely edited documentary about an exiled Vietnamese who returns to Vietnam
rasecz30 September 2007
A loosely edited documentary about a Vietnamese man, Vaan Nguyen, who escaped the communist regime after the end of the war. Part of the boat people who escaped by being rescued at sea. Vaan is accepted into Israel as an humanitarian gesture. He, his wife and three daughters live modestly. He works in a restaurant (?).

Vaan takes advantage of a more open Vietnam to visit is home country. He also wants to explore the possibility of returning permanently. His parents owned lands but those are now in the hands of others. It looks uncertain that he can claim them back. More importantly the issue of bringing his family with him back to Vietnam faces a major hurdle. The daughters, born in Israel, are clearly culturally part of the Israeli society despite not being Jewish and despite their exotic appearance vis a vis the predominant phenotype in that corner of the world. In Vietnam they look like everyone else, but they think differently. The daughters are from the getgo nonparticipants in the father's plans. It is in showing this kind of cultural/ethnic clash that the documentary is at its best.
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