Boat People (1982)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Docudrama, Political Drama  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong  |  
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A landmark of the nascent Hong Kong New Wave of the early '80s, this melodrama -- directed by Ann Hui -- concerns the plight of Vietnamese peasants shortly after the fall of Saigon. The film centers on a Japanese photojournalist named Shiomi Akutagawa (George Lam Chi-cheung) who ventures to Danang to document Vietnam's attempts at rebuilding after the war. At first he's bussed around by government officials showing off quaint villages and happy, healthy children. Later, he manages to get permission to wander about the countryside without a government chaperon. Soon he happens upon a young lass named Cam Nuong (Season Ma Si-san) who is from a desperately poor family. At first she is suspicious and even hostile towards the foreigner but quickly they develop a bond of sorts. As Akutagawa starts seeing Vietnam through Cam Nuong's eyes, he starts to realize that everyday life is far different from the state propaganda. Villagers live in constant terror of marauding soldiers, and children scavenge the bodies of executed prisoners for valuables. This film, which was shot in Mainland China, garnered armloads of Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. This film also launched the career of future pop icon and movie star Andy Lau.

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Keywords

refugee, bandleader, boating, escape, family, farming, friendship, head-injury, heartbreak, leader, liberation, photojournalist, tyrant, war-correspondent