Hot boy noi loan Cau chuyen ve thang Cuoi, co gai diem va con vit (Rebellious hot boy, and the story about a guy named Cuoi, a prostitute and a duck) could be the longest-titled Vietnamese film ever, but it has a more important first to claim the first film from Vietnam to depict homosexual love.
The film, whose English name is "Lost in Paradise," will be the only Vietnamese entry at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Canada on September 8-18.
Directed by Vu Ngoc Dang, the film features homosexual love both explicitly and in a positive light between three young men. It also presents its characters' lives in a range of tones, from the humorous to the absurd to the tragic.
According to Giovanna Fulvi, TIFF's film programer in Asia, the film tells the stories of the hardships faced by those living on the fringes of Vietnamese society: the dangers and abuse within the world of prostitution; gay-bashing; the difficulty of sustaining a meaningful relationship under extremely precarious circumstances; the pariah status of gays; and the lack of support for the handicapped.
"Lost in Paradise" opens our eyes to rarely glimpsed facets of contemporary Vietnam, and relays stories that are usually left untold," said Fulvi, who selected "Lost in Paradise" during the Hanoi International Film Festival in 2010.
Dang's earlier films, including the short film Vo chong chuot (Mouse couple) (1999), feature films Nhung co gai chan dai (The leggy girls) (2004) and Dep tung centimet (Every inch of beauty) (2009), were commercial successes, and "Lost in Paradise" could continue that trend.
The film will compete with 335 other films from 65 countries and territories worldwide.
"Lost in Paradise" won Thailand's Technicolor Award in 2010 and will premiere in Vietnam on October 14.