The first national celebration of Vietnamese film in cinemas Star Nha Ease Vietnamese Cinema is coming to Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham

  • The first national celebration of Vietnamese film in cinemas coming to Birmingham
  • Contemporary and classic titles never before seen in the UK, newly digitised
  • Live performances from Xo Xinh and Nammy Wams

The first national celebration of Vietnamese film in cinemas Star Nhà Ease: Vietnamese Cinema is coming to Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham. The season will introduce Vietnamese cinema to UK audiences across the country. Produced by Live Cinema UK and Tuyết Vân Huỳnh, the Season is supported by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, the British Council and Longdan Ltd. Co-curated by Cường Minh Bá Phạm, Esther Johnson, and Tuyết Vân Huỳnh, Star Nhà Ease includes five feature films, a short film programme, two live musical performances and Q&As.

Star Nhà Ease will present Esther Johnson’s archive essay documentary Dust & Metal (2022), which features extracts from across Vietnamese cinematic history, stemming from her field research in archives of the Vietnamese Film Institute. This will be accompanied by a live score by Vietnamese electronic music composer and performer Xo Xinh.

Among the feature films presented as part of the Season are Little Girl of Hanoi (1974), a poignant portrayal of the 1972 U.S. bombing campaign over Hanoi, infused with a message of hope in Hải Ninh’s compelling drama. This screening will be complemented by an original live musical response from Nammy Wams, a London-based music producer and DJ specialising in grime, UK drill, and the related sounds.

The selection of Vietnamese classic films, never seen before in the UK will feature Đặng Nhật Minh’s When the Tenth Month Comes (1984), a striking black and white film that captures the inhumanities of the Vietnam war as experienced by those who lived in Vietnam at the time. A young Vietnamese woman, Duyên, heads to the South-Eastern border to see her husband. As she returns home she carries the indescribable pain of learning that her husband had been killed and chooses to conceal this from her in-laws. Ming carefully weaves together Vietnamese folk culture and beliefs while also dealing with collective bereavement.  And Việt Linh’sTravelling Circus (1989), a bittersweet story of a small travelling circus stopping in a verdant ethnic minority village in the central highlands of Vietnam. Through the eyes of a village youngster, we witness the magic of the circus, and the naive hope that illusion can be transformed into reality.

Also featured is documentary Finding Phong (2015) by Phương Thảo and Swann Dubus, which chronicles the journey of Phong, who has grappled with feeling like a girl trapped in a mismatched boy’s body since childhood. Following the screening, audiences in Birmingham will have the opportunity to engage in a live Q&A session with the film protagonist, Lê Ánh Phong and Executive Producer Gerald Herman.

The Season also includes a selection of shorts from Vietnamese filmmakers and the diaspora. Flowing Home (2021) An animated story where two sisters grow up in Vietnam and are separated by the war between North and South. Good Chips (2023), Dublin 1989: A family of Vietnamese immigrants struggle to keep their takeaway business afloat, while their 12 year old daughter Tam befriends a local Irish boy. ‘Sigh Gone’ (2019) Without the guide of her “lost love”, Thuy is on the verge of death by boredom. Having no agenda, she finds odd ways to entertain herself in the bustling city of Saigon, Vietnam.And Lastly, Stay Awake, Be Ready (2019) On a street corner a mysterious conversation among three young men plays out, while a traffic accident occurs on a motorbike. The night brings together a sketch, a multicolour frame of reality.


Star Nhà Ease is dedicated to unveiling the rich tapestry of Vietnamese cinema to UK audiences for the first time. This initiative will focus on expanding the understanding of Vietnam’s unique cinematic identity and spotlighting the wealth of its cinematic achievements, which remain largely unrecognised in the West.

Tracing back to the 1920s, amidst a backdrop of considerable challenges and prolonged conflict, filmmakers have profoundly captured the tumultuous journey of Vietnamese people. Through their art, they have carved out a distinctive cinematic identity, establishing a voice that demands to be heard. As we approach the centenary of Vietnamese cinema in 2024, it presents a fitting moment to introduce UK audiences to a curated selection of rarely seen Vietnamese films.

Our mission is to kindle a passion for Vietnamese cinema among viewers, celebrate its rich legacy, encourage the exploration of more Vietnamese films, and stimulate discussions on the narratives shaping Vietnam and its diaspora and the intrinsic value of the films we have selected. Star Nhà Ease aims to highlight the significance of film heritage and its role in empowering underrepresented communities and voices. By doing so, we envision a scenario where individuals, who rarely see themselves reflected on screen, will be drawn to cinemas in large numbers, feeling a sense of belonging within the broader spectrum of British arts and culture.

Star Nhà Ease: Vietnamese Cinema Season is supported by the BFI Audience Project Fund, awarding National Lottery funding, the British Council and Longdan Ltd.

The Project was originally supported by the British Council’s UK/Viet Nam Season 2023.