Film Reviews by Aviva Nachman-“Nước” and “My Immigrant Story”

Nước: Within the first few seconds of Nước, director and writer Quyên Nguyen-Le manages to envelop the audience in a warm and protective, bordering defensive, embrace. The main character is an unnamed queer Vietnamese-American teen who is struggling to reconcile the perspective of her mother, who is a refugee of the Vietnam War, and the perspective of a character who seems to be the teen’s lover. Through a series of scenes which take place in a darkroom, the main character develops photographs depicting images such as a protest, a desert and the inside of a womb. The teen and her lover exchange few words, letting the tension mount as they discuss the Vietnam War. The teen’s relationship with her mother is one of respect and acceptance. After the argument in the darkroom, the mother invites the teen’s lover over for a traditional Vietnamese meal and that provokes the teen to ask more questions of her mom and to become more open with her. Nước’s message is one of acceptance, warmth and understanding and will leave viewers feeling transported and protected.

My Immigrant Story: My Immigrant Story is narrated by director Yuriko Gamo Romer and exclusively uses home video footage shot by her father. Romer’s father was a research scientist who, one year after the Russians launched Sputnik, was recruited to move to America with his family to help the country gain momentum in the Space Race. This job took Romer’s family all across the country where they visited observatories, universities, monuments and national landmarks. She grew up surrounded by travel, science and a loving family and through the home video footage, the audience feels the same sense of wonder, fascination and inspiration that the director felt in the videos. Romer explains that the “science gene skipped a generation” as shots of her drawing and taking photographs as a child cross the screen. She goes on to state that her son is now studying science and is “aiming for the stars” just like her father had. After watching this, I was blown away that in a mere three minutes I was able to feel inspired to travel, create and learn and felt as though I had just spent summers with Romer’s family traveling the country along with them.

Nước and My Immigrant Story will be played at Cinemapolis from our 4:30-6 pm on Saturday, October 13th.


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