Documentary | 1990 | 60 mins | DVD
Director/Producer: Keiko Tsuno
An American tragedy in the fullest sense, this moving documentary explores the myth of the American dream and how one young man’s hope for a better life is systemically destroyed by dis-illusionment, poverty and crime. Vinh Dinh, the son of a U.S. serviceman and a Vietnamese mother, immigrates to the United States as part of a group of repatriated Amerasian children. The film recounts the poignant and heartbreaking story of Vinh’s journey of transition from Vietnamese to American culture, from youth to manhood, and from dreams to harsh reality.
From the very beginning Vinh has difficulties adjusting to his new life. After a short stay in a refugee camp in Thailand, he arrives in the U.S., dazed, speaking no English and with minimal formal education. A streetwise adolescent hardened by years of hand-to-mouth survival in war-torn Vietnam, he is bounced between foster families and a group home for troubled youth, eventually making his way to the streets and, finally, prison. His tragic experience highlights the complex legacy of the Vietnam War as well as the shortcomings of the American foster care system and the responsibility of the children it attempts, and often fails, to nurture.