Student Delegate Blog: Saigon Fresh!

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By Stephanie Der

First of all, Chuck Mitsui is a cool dude.  The delegates had brunch with him and got to ask the burning questions we had about his film, One Kine Day (the inside out shirt, for example!).  Y’all should check out the insightful, mellow look into everyday Hawaiian life and issues he’s created in his movie.  Fellow delegate Fan has already blogged about it too!

Anyways.

Step Up?  Flashdance?  Forget about those movies, Saigon Electric is where it’s at!  Also, forget about all those clichés and tropes associated with teen dance flicks, because Saigon uses it to its advantage without being clunky.  It uses the dance world to throw light on social issues facing youth: urbanization/development, class, and of course, the ever present uncertainty and angst of adolescence

The film is organic, and the dancing and acting great (the b-boy/girls were all cast for dancing before acting).  As a dancer, I can say that the film captured the feel of performing to a crowd, the choreography felt natural, and it struck an emotional chord with me; I was teary-eyed at the end.  Although Van Trang who plays Mai is an actress, it’s Quynh Hoa who steals the show as Kim, the b-girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

Their friendship, which passes the Bechdel Test, drives the film forward, rather than their romances.

Saigon Electric is scheduled for a limited US release late summer, and it would be a shame to miss out on this film that outshines teen dance films.

Stephanie is a participant in this year’s Verizon Student Delegate Program

  • Nawneet Ranjan

    Saigon Electric has captured the developing economy and the youth’s psyche of the current Vietnam.
    Along with the screening, I enjoyed the live band which was playing in the Japan peace center. The live performance filled the celebration with more enthusiasm and zeal all around.
    The evening screening of Resident Aliens took the heart beat for the protagonist KK. His journey of redemption is praise worthy.

  • Natalie Tsui

    Holy moly, Stephanie! I cannot believe that I have never heard of the Bechdel Test before. Thank you for the clip! I am now an informed female. That said, Saigon Electric not only depicted multifaceted female characters, the film was straight up FRESH, in the way that Will Smith meant it in the nineties. Popping with vibrant colors, thoughtfully nuanced performances, and spectacular cinematography (director Stephane Gauger’s background as a director of photography shines through brilliantly to showcase the dance moves, city, and characters), Saigon Electric will definitely make waves in Vietnam and beyond! If you haven’t seen it, catch it if you can! This film deserves to be seen on the big screen!

  • Darlene

    Great commentary on how the film was moved by the friendships formed in the film rather than the romances. Saigon Electric was my favorite film I’ve seen so far. I definitely think it has what it takes to succeed in the box office, satisfying everything in the formula of a successful blockbuster: action, comedy, and moving storyline.

  • Stephanie Der

    Haha, glad to see someone liked the link. Have you also checked out the Women in Refrigerators page (I’d link to it, but I’m not sure how)? It also deals with portrayal of women, but particularly in comic books, which is becoming increasingly important with the influx of comics becoming movies.