Thursday, May 10, 2012

From Love to Tumultuous Breakup: Mye Hoang's Wrenching Memoir in Viette (2012)

To listen to the online Subversity Show interview with Director Mye Hoang, click on:
Vietnamese American filmmaker Mye Hoang has made a wrenching, personal film based on her own disastrous relationship, beginning at 17, with a seemingly wonderful Caucasian man of 20.

Mye Hoang as Viette in bed with her lover Matt (played by Sean MacBride)
Hoang's first feature, which will be shown tomorrow, as the magnificant 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival continues its run in Southern California, is utterly honest and blunt, difficult to watch but with the strongest performances from Mye herself, as the vulnerable but utterly captivating Viette, and from Sean McBride, as her attractive lover, that you would ever see in a first-time feature film director.

Hailing from Dallas, where she was born, Mye Hoang was the bad sheep in the family, her parents (from Vietnam) not giving her any of the freedoms expected by an adolescent growing up in America. Her film painfully depicts the uncomprehending gulf between parents and teenaged daughter; in one scene, the mother, portrayed convincingly by Yen Ly, warns her daughter about having "boys" give her rides home. When Viette eventually manages to escape, she encounters not a blissful life with her lover Matt but a disturbing unraveling of her relationship as the true character of her beloved Matt is revealed.

The film offers a stark look at teen love dissolving into despair, with an eventually hopeful ending, as I see it, amidst the calm settings of Hainan Island, the locale to which Viette has chosen, in the film to escape. There is hope, Hoang seems to say, amidst all the victimization and agony she endured.

In her interview with this online edition of Subversity, conducted by show host Daniel C. Tsang, Hoang reveals that her family may not even know about her film. She tells why she made this feature, to present a woman's perspective that is often ignored, glossed over, or kept out of the silver screen.

In 2011, she founded the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, and more recently, until last year, she served as the Artistic Director of the San Diego Asian Foundation. This talented director currently resides in Southern California and is "looking for a job".

Her earlier co-directed short, Press or Say "2" (2005), which wonderfully and hilariously captures the perils of intercultural communication with a call center based in Shanghai (with the attendant surveillance potential), is available for viewing on YouTube.

Viette screens at the Asian Pacific Film Festival Friday evening, May 11, 2012, at 9:30 p.m. at CGV Cinemas, 621 S. Western (between 6th and Wilshire), Los Angeles. Parking at CGV parking structure via the Manhattan Street entrance.

- Daniel C. Tsang, Subversity show host.

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