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Pao's Story (2006)
"Chuyen cua Pao" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  28 July 2007 (Japan)
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Set in a breath-taking primitive landscape in the mountainous provinces of Vietnam, the film tells the story of a Hmong tribe girl named Pao. She was raised by her stepmother, for her real ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (short story)
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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hoa Thuy Do
Thanh Kha Ly
Nhu Quynh Nguyen


Set in a breath-taking primitive landscape in the mountainous provinces of Vietnam, the film tells the story of a Hmong tribe girl named Pao. She was raised by her stepmother, for her real mother left her when she was little. One day, her stepmother dies in an accident, and she begins to track down her birth mother. But her journey turns out to disclose an unsealed sentimental drama of the family in the past. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

28 July 2007 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

L'histoire de Pao  »

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Did You Know?


Won Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography at Vietnam's 2006 National Film Awards (The Golden Kites). See more »

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User Reviews

The life of PAO
15 November 2006 | by (Viet Nam) – See all my reviews

The life of Pao

Chuyen Cua Pao (Pao's Story), finally hit the screens of the National Cinema last week as well as cinemas throughout country, to satisfy hungry cinema-goers desperate to see the film after it received a Golden Kite Award (Vietnam's very own Oscars) for the best movie this year.

Director, Ngo Quang Hai, was inspired by a simple but emotional story called Tieng Dan Moi Sau Bo Rao Da (Jew's harp sound behind a rocky fence) by Do Bich Thuy three years ago, which led him to adapt it for the screen. Pao's Story depicts the lives of remote ethnic Mong villagers and a young girl named Pao, who has two mothers – a real mother and a stepmother. Her real mother leaves Pao and her brother when they are young babies to be raised by their stepmother. But after a family incident, Pao leaves home to track down her real mother. Her journey leads us on a journey of discovery where we see the secrets of love and the strength of relationships between people in the countryside. The film contains some breath-taking primitive scenes in the mountainous provinces of Vietnam. We can see the complicated moods of Pao in her quest, demonstrated simply and slowly without much use of dialog. Pao's Story is Hai's first award-winning film and places him at the fore of original directors in Vietnam today. While other filmmakers are lured by commercial films about gangsters, bar girls or robberies, Hai is clearly forging his own path. "I've actually experienced many difficulties to earn a living and I am not the kind of man who fears a challenge," he says. Hai's wife, Do Thi Hai Yen, was chosen to be Pao. Yen has been famous since the international hit The Quiet American, directed by Australian Philip Noyce. Yen won the best actress award at the Golden Kite ceremony for her role in Pao's Story and Nhu Quynh also picked up best supporting actress. Hai first met Yen when he acted in the film Mua He Chieu Thang Dung (Vertical Ray of the Sun) by screen-writer director Tran Anh Hung in 2001. Yen, at the time, was a attending the Vietnam Dancing College and appeared briefly as a maid, while Hai played a brother in a large family of sisters in Hanoi. Yen's fragile and pure beauty was perfect for the role of Phuong (in The Quiet American), a beautiful, exotic and mysterious mistress who becomes caught up in a love triangle with an American aid worker and an English London Times correspondent in Saigon. Before filming Pao's Story, Hai and Yen had to come up to mountainous provinces Ha Giang, Lai Chau and Lao Cai to select scenes in every season on nearly 20 occasions. The couple even lived with ethnic people and learned some of the H'Hmong language. To develop the character of Pao, Hai befriended a Hmong girl for one month, visiting her house and following her to markets. Yen has successfully portrayed Pao with a spontaneous and soulful authenticity. Hai has been involved in a number of international film productions and asked The Quiet American director Philip Noyce to recommend courses in movie direction in the US. Hai's international film making experiences, reputation as a true gentleman, added with his recent success means he is in god position in terms of cast selection or general job offers. However, Hai is not one to let success influence his decisions and he has turned down invitations to act in domestic productions this year. Pao's Story received VND2 billion from the government, as well as sponsorship from VIDO-TOUR for post-production work. Hai is now preparing to make a film called Kien with filming expected to begin in Jan 2007. The film is an independent production and is privately sponsored. In an ever-commercializing industry, a director like Quang Hai is a breath of fresh air. (Time out)

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