yesterday, i went to the san jose premiere of kieu
at the san francisco international asian american film festival with a bunch of my friends and family.
i play the awkward new girl at the brothel/massage parlor who speaks choppy vietnamese/english.
jeremy said seeing my face on the cinema screen was the most surreal experience.
“it’s like.. actor. actor. actor.. veanne?”
for me, it was uncomfortable.
since this was my first movie,
i did not realize that acting for the camera required a whole new set of skills
different from acting on the theatre stage.
i was unaware that every single expression on my face would be magnified that intensely.
my nostrils were like one feet wide on the movie screen!
i know now not to make that face when on camera.
i just looked.. weird.
my aunt said, “oh you were so beautiful, but only when they showed your profile.”
thanks auntie. :)
at the san francisco premiere: christopher, me, kathy, thu ha and debbie.
[photo by nomies.com]
kieu is a modern film adaptation of truyen kieu,
an epic poem written by the 18th century writer nguyen du.
in the poem, the character kieu was a beautiful, lyrical archetype who sells herself into prostitution
in order to save her father and brother from political imprisonment.
her duties as a caretaker were deemed heroic
and in turn her character was well loved by the vietnamese community.
the modern day kieu, however, is an amalgamation of real life sex workers
living in the san francisco tenderloin district.
despite being ubiquitous in the vietnamese communities throughout the united states,
vietnamese sex workers have a stigma attached to them and are rarely spoken of.
inspired by her outreach program with sex workers,
debbie nguyen (the producer and one of the writers) felt it was her responsibility
to give these sex workers voices and identities beyond their stereotypes.
the movie was not produced to entertain,
but rather to trigger discourse in the vietnamese community
and for them to ultimately reshape their opinions about vietnamese sex workers.
kieu will also be premiering at the chicago asian american film festival on april 2nd,
and at the los angeles asian pacific film festival in early may.