Pa va hêng

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Dust of Modern Life

Pa va hêng
Franziska von Stenglin
German Competition 2021
Documentary Film
82 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Franziska von Stenglin
Lucas Tothe
Franziska von Stenglin
Umlaut Films
Lucie Baudinaud
Zuniel Kim
Marylou Vergez
Christian Wittmoser
Nguyen Ngoc Tân
Thomas Höhl

Liem belongs to the ethnic minority of the Sedang and lives in a remote region of Vietnam. The observing camera succinctly sketches a daily routine that’s marked more by surviving than by living. With his friends, he prepares for an expedition into the jungle, where the young men want to take time out, continue the tradition of their ancestors, become hunters and gatherers. The more twisting their paths, the deeper the film seems to enter into a different sphere.

We get to know Liem doing everyday activities. Carrying the baby in a sling, he cooks, hangs out the laundry, goes to the field. The giant loudspeakers fixed to the streetlights fill his village with official news and advertising. In his stilt house, Liem prefers to listen to Vietnamese pop music. Soon we feel the rhythm, the unique beat of this life. When Liem and his friends set out in rubber sandals and carrying backpacks, the camera follows close behind, takes their perspective. Shot on Super 16, the film captures the green tones of the Vietnamese Central Highlands, the images develop a mesmerizing depth. The rustling of leaves, the buzzing of insects, birdsong and permanent rain come together in a melodious soundscape. Suddenly time seems to stand still, the separation between screen and auditorium is lifted.
Anke Leweke
Intervening Nature
Sense and Being