Vietnamese gay movie "Lost in Paradise" was screened on December 1 to kick off the 39th SSEAYP's Oscar Film Festival, held by Vietnam's Participating Youths (PY) this year.
The film, directed by Vu Ngoc Dang, were highly appreciated by more than 300 PYs from 11 Asian countries.
In the movie, Khoi, a naÃ¯ve 20-year-old guy from the countryside is soon befriended by Dong, a handsome smooth talker in Saigon who offers him a place to stay. But Dong and his boyfriend Lam then steal Khoi's cash and belongings and run away.
Lam is later abandoned by Dong and returns to the street as a prostitute while the penniless Khoi takes on menial jobs to survive. They meet again and Lam tries to make amend, resulting in their loving delicate relationship, only at the time that Dong suddenly returns.
The movie was bought by Fortissimo Films which comments on its website that the film "takes a provocative yet compassionate look at a group of people who live, love and exist on the fringes in modern Vietnam" and perhaps is the first film from Vietnam to depict a gay relationship in a positive light.
According to Myint Lint from Myanmar, Lost in Paradise presents a new, interesting different aspect of Vietnam's society from what he knew about Vietnam before.
"I am quite shocked because Vietnam and the director himself are so open about the gay, lesbian theme. In my country, it's not like that, but the film itself is awesome," Lint, a 22-year-old student from Yangon said.
Lost in Paradise was awarded Best Script at Toronto Film Festival in Canada last year.
Short films made by the PYs of all participating countries will be submitted and screened every day after the homestay program in Brunei (December 3-6) to compete for Best Script, Best Director, Best Actress and Actor and Best Picture Awards of the film fest.
The award ceremony will be held on December 10 at the Pacific Hall of the cruise Fuji Maru. Jury board includes 11 National Leaders of 11 countries as well as the program's administrators.
SSEAYP's OSCAR Film Festival is one of several cultural activities of Vietnam contingent during the SSEAYP program (October 23-December 14), held annually by Japanese government since 1974, to enhance mutual understanding as well as promote cultures between Japan and 10 Southeast Asian countries.
This year, the ship has visited Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.
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