Vietnamese-born Trinh T. Minh-ha is an internationally renowned writer, composer, and filmmaker. Her most recent film, Forgetting Vietnam, both reflects on Vietnam’s geography, history, legends, and myths, and serves as an archeology of changing visual technologies. Her earlier postcolonial classic, also an exploration of Vietnam, Surname Viet Given Name Nam, includes interviews that are translated multiple times and reenacted, presenting the experiences of both Vietnam residents and immigrants. Like much of her work, both films deeply engage with memory, conflict, culture, and women’s experiences, and with issues of representation and documentation. Trinh’s poetic approach is emotional and layered; as Gabriel Gabrenya notes, “Seldom do modern films venture north, toward the heart or, less likely, into the head. This is dangerous, unchartered territory, not found on the maps of most moviemakers.” While he was referring to Surname Viet Given Name Nam, which he characterizes as “made with emotional confidence and intellectual nerve,” his words also hold true of Forgetting Vietnam.
We are delighted that Trinh will be in person at all three screenings and in conversation with Shannon Jackson on September 14 and Akira Mizuta Lippit on September 15 and 17. Both Trinh and Jackson are on the faculty at UC Berkeley. Trinh is professor of gender and women’s studies and of rhetoric. Jackson is the Cyrus and Michelle Hadidi Chair, as well as professor of rhetoric and of theater, dance and performance studies. Jackson is also UC Berkeley’s first associate vice chancellor of arts and design. Akira Mizuta Lippit is vice dean of faculty in the School of Cinematic Arts and professor in the division of cinema and media studies at USC.
Kathy Geritz, Film Curator