Vietnamese drama wins ‘Best First Feature’ at Berlin film festival

By Phong Kieu   February 26, 2024 | 03:44 am PT
“Cu Li Khong Bao Gio Khoc” (Cu Li Never Cries) directed by Pham Ngoc Lan has won the “Best First Feature” award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The black-and-white drama "Cu Li Khong Bao Gio Khoc" portrays the journey of a middle-aged woman named Nguyen played by Minh Chau.

Scene from Cu Li Khong Bao Gio Khoc movie featuring actress Minh Chau and actor Ha Hoang

Scene from "Cu Li Khong Bao Gio Khoc" movie featuring actress Minh Chau and actor Ha Hoang

Having picked up the ashes of her long-estranged husband in Germany, she returns to her Vietnamese home. She carries a pygmy slow loris in her luggage, a species of primate from the Vietnamese rainforest, which she has inherited from the dead man.

Meanwhile, her young niece who lives with her is hastily preparing for her upcoming wedding.

As the story unfolds, Nguyen’s path intersects with that of a young man, and she unexpectedly reunites with an old soulmate.

The homepage of the Berlin International Film Festival website describes the film as "the present in which the characters live and the complex echoes of Vietnamese history intertwine in a contemplative and poetic way."

An article on International Cinephile Society characterizes the movie as "a peculiar but enthralling story of identity and grief," and awards it a score of 3.5/5.

Director Lan said: "The film is a doubtful question about the happiness that we, including Nguyen, are looking for together."

Lan previously entered his "Mot Khu Dat Tot" ("Blessed Land") in the "Berlinale Shorts" category during the 2019 festival.

With this win, "Cu Li Khong Bao Gio Khoc" joins "Ben Trong Vo Ken Vang" (Inside The Yellow Cocoon) as the only two Vietnamese films to have won the "Best First Feature" award at a major international film festival.

go to top