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Bard in China Presents “Vietnamese Cinema: Past, Present, and Future,” Two Evenings of Film and Discussion, February 4-5

Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY — On Monday and Tuesday, February 4-5, Bard in China presents “Vietnamese Cinema: Past, Present, and Future,” two evenings of discussion and films exploring the history and “new wave” of Vietnamese cinema. On Monday, February 4, Gerald Herman, will discuss the general history of Vietnamese cinema. His talk is followed by a screening of the 1984 feature When the Tenth Month Comes, directed by Dang Nhat Minh, whom the Los Angeles Times called “Vietnam’s finest filmmaker.” On Tuesday, February 5, Vietnamese-American director Stephane Gauger presents his highly acclaimed new feature, The Owl and the Sparrow, which has won awards at numerous international film festivals. Both events are free and open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. in Weis Cinema in the Bertelsmann Campus Center. The events are sponsored by Bard in China and Bard’s Asian Studies and International Studies Programs. Gerald Herman has had a 40-year career in theater, film, television, multimedia, marketing, and corporate communications in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. He has been a member of the Director’s Unit of Actors Studio in New York City, assistant to director Arthur Penn on the film Alice’s Restaurant, screenwriter and associate producer of a Hollywood feature film, second unit director of a Warner Bros. television series with James Stewart, and writer/director of a number of children’s films for CBS Television and Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. His shorts and television films have won awards at eight international film festivals. From 1978 until 1988, Herman was international marketing director for the Swedish IKEA Group. He taught film history and video production courses in Singapore from 1988 to 1990, and served as executive creative director for BBDO Advertising Agency in Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City. Since 1993 he has been based in Vietnam, managing an advertising agency (Lotus Communications), producing documentaries and television commercials, and establishing Vietnam’s first art house cinema, the Hanoi Cinematheque, which he currently manages. He has a B.F.A. from New York University Film School and has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1971. -continued- A haunting portrait of one woman’s struggle with loss and personal sacrifice during the war, When the Tenth Month Comes is considered by many local and international critics to be the greatest Vietnamese movie ever made. In the final days of the war, a beautiful young widow, Duyen, faces a daily struggle to take care of her young son and ailing father-in-law, all the while hiding from them the fact that her husband has recently been killed in battle. Keeping her secret burden to herself, she is befriended by the village schoolmaster, Zhang, who agrees to fabricate letters from her dead husband in order to spare her family sorrow. As their friendship deepens, Duyen and Zhang find themselves drawn closer to intimacy—a dangerous relationship if Duyen is to maintain her charade. The title of the movie refers to the month in which the Day of Forgiveness occurs; a time when, it is said, that departed souls may visit loved ones still living. The film resonates beautifully with the traditional Vietnamese precepts of duty and sacrifice, combined with aesthetic influences from centuries of traditional poetry, literature, and theater. Although this was the first post-war Vietnamese movie to be shown at foreign film festivals (winning several awards), the film has seldom been shown in Vietnam since it was produced in 1984. The movie was recently restored, with English subtitles, and we will be screening this new copy. Stephane Gauger was born in Saigon and raised in Orange County, California. He received a B.A. in theater and French literature. His love of cinema moved him away from the stage onto film sets, training in film lighting under Matty Libatique. Gauger subsequently worked in the camera and lighting departments on independent films in the United States and Southeast Asia, including Sundance winner Three Seasons, all the while honing his writing and directing craft on short narrative and documentary films. Owl and the Sparrow, which has won awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival, and the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, is his first feature. The film, which takes place in modern-day Saigon, looks at three lonely strangers who form a unique family as a 10-year old orphan plays matchmaker to a zookeeper and a beautiful flight attendant. Gauger is now in preproduction on Powder Blue, a screenplay he co-wrote with partner Timothy Bui. The film stars Forrest Whitaker, Jessica Biel, and Ray Liotta. Gauger has also recently begun work on a feature-length documentary on the National Symphony of Vietnam, in partnership with the Norwegian Music Conservatory. For more information on Owl and the Sparrow, go to For more information on the events, contact Katherine Gould-Martin,, 845-758-7388. # # # (1.03.07)

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This event was last updated on 02-06-2008