2007-10-06 The Owl and the Sparrow
Directed by Stephane Gauger (2007, 97 min, Color, Video, USA/Vietnam) Vietnamese with English subtitles. In this captivating tale of hope, survival and dislocation in modern-day Vietnam, a precocious child serves as our guide through the maelstrom of city life. Thuy (introducing Pham Thi Han) is a ten-year-old orphan forced by her domineering uncle to toil away in his rural bamboo factory. One day the young girl escapes for the streets of Saigon, where she survives off quick wits and the humble profit she makes off of selling postcards and roses.
Along the way, she meets Lan (JOURNEY FROM THE FALL's Cat Ly), a beautiful, independent flight attendant and Hai (Le The Le), a solitary zookeeper who spends his days tending to the zoo's elephants. Sensing their shared sense of loneliness, the inquisitive Thuy schemes to bring her two new friends into each others lives, despite their differences in class. As she attempts to build this makeshift family around her, Thuy must evade the orphanage officials who seek to retrieve her off the streets and return her to her uncle.
Using handheld camera and collaborating with producers Timothy Bui (GREEN DRAGON) and Ham Tran (JOURNEY FROM THE FALL), first-time feature filmmaker Gauger darts in and out of Saigons alleyways, capturing the electrifying energy of the city, with its bustling noodle stands, busy street stalls and the motor scooters that zoom across town. In the end, OWL AND THE SPARROW is as much an endearing story about family and self-discovery as it is an ode to Gauger's own birthplace.
Official Selection of the 25th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature
Official Selection of the Los Angeles Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Director bio: Born in Saigon but raised in Orange County, CA, Stephane Gauger is currently working on a feature-length documentary about the National symphony of Vietnam. Trained in film lighting, he has worked in the camera and lighting departments on a number of independent film sets throughout the U.S. and Southeast Asia. "Owl and the Sparrow" is his first feature film.
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