LGBT portrayal under the scanner in Hanoi

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A still from Adrift, a LGBT film by director Bui Thac Chuyen in 2009

Film screenings and discussions on the topic "Images of gay and transgender people in Vietnamese contemporary cinema" will be held at 3 p.m. on Dec 14 at the Goethe Institute in Hanoi.

The organizers, Nha San Collective, Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, and the Goethe Institute in the capital, say Vietnamese filmmakers have been paying more attention to gay and transgender issues in recent years. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people) characters are being portrayed and appear briefly on both television and motion picture screens.

The topics of gender and sexuality are also mentioned more frequently in the Vietnamese media these days. Feature films Adrift, 2009 by director Bui Thac Chuyen, and Bi, Don't be Afraid, 2010 by director Phan Dang Di brought home awards from renowned international film festivals. Director Vu Ngoc Đang's Lost in Paradise, 2011, brought the film to both international and domestic audience. Most recently, gay people, portrayed by both foreign and Vietnamese characters, are featured in director Ham Tran's High Heels (2013).

The discussion about LGBTs and gender equality will be based on these cinema language and popular culture and participated in by a broader audience of both cinephiles, art lovers, LGBT people and heterosexuals, and anyone who cares about gender equality.

Specific questions that will be discussed include: How LGBTs are being portrayed in film screen? Does cinematic representation of LGBT people manipulate, discriminate, or protect their rights and encourage them to raise gender equality awareness? How have social, political, and economical influences have shaped their images? What do these movies tell about LGBT communities in Vietnam? What do they tell about the relationship between the dominating culture (where heterosexuals make the norms) and the LGBTs? And what action can we take to fight against any discrimination towards the LGBT people?"

Renowned film director Phan Dang Di will give a talk about "Images of gay and transgender people in Vietnamese contemporary cinema: Rebellion within frames". Marcus Manh Cuong Vu Festival Director of Yxine Film Fest an annual online international short film festival will be the moderator of the following discussion.

The screening of Nguyen Trinh Thi's documantary "Love Man Love Woman" (2007, 52 minutes) will continue the program before a panel discussion on topics of gay and transgender people in the popular Mother Goddess Religion, with the film director Nguyen Trinh Thi, guest speaker Phạm Quynh Phuong and moderated by Dang Hoang Giang.

The screening and discussion is the first event of the "˜QUEER FOREVER!" Art Festival that will take place on Dec 14-31 in Hanoi.

The Goethe Institute is located on 56 58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

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