Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

DAUGHTER FROM DANANG

 

Year: 2002
Country: USA/Vietnam
Run Time: 80 minutes

A heartbreaking documentary that upsets your expectations of happily-ever-afters, DAUGHTER FROM DANANG goes off like a landmine in the soul. To all outward appearances Heidi is the proverbial all-American girl, hailing from Pulaski, Tennessee. But her real name is Hiep. She's the mixed-race daughter of an American serviceman and an abandoned Vietnamese wife who worked on a naval base during the long-running war in Indochina. During the closing months of the conflict her birth mother, Mai, gave up the seven-year-old during ?Operation Babylift,? a Ford Administration plan relocating such children to the US for adoption before they fell victim to a frighteningly uncertain future at the mercy of the Communists. That airlift was the last she saw of Hiep for 22 years. Now, as if by a miracle, Mai and Heidi are reunited in Danang. But what seems like the cue for a happy ending is just as deceptive as camouflage fatigues, as the filmmakers show that Heidi's stateside life, under a demanding, emotionally-cold single mother, was no fairy tale. And, as ?Hiep,? her loving reception by Mai's large (but impoverished) clan holds as many snares as a field of tiger-pits. The CIFF has in the past presented many fine Vietnam documentaries such as "Vietnam: Long Time Coming" (23rd CIFF, 1999). Provocative and powerful, DAUGHTER FROM DANANG, stands worthy of marching with the platoon. (Partially in Vietnamese with English subtitles)

Directors
Gail Dolgin, Vincente Franco

Producer
Gail Dolgin

Cinematography
Vincente Franco

Editing
Kim Roberts

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