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!
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