“Mapping Vietnamese Identities in Tran Anh Hung’s and Tony Bui’s Films: Femininity and Love”



Many Vietnamese diasporic film directors have presented women as conveyors of Vietnamese culture, with their love symbolizing Vietnamese identity. This identity has been characterized by the virtues of sacrifice, endurance, and cohesion within a patriarchal family. On one hand, their femininity, as well as their female beauty, can be fully realized only when they are viewed through the perspective of a man and connected to his love. This remains true even if female love sometimes becomes overly patient or rebellious. On the other hand, women in diasporic films possess characteristics that resemble the image of a woman in a traditional environment, or more specifically, a Confucian space. Love keeps them alive. However, they sometimes break out, their love causing them to rebel. Inevitably, they will return to the original, traditional space. This paper argues that this interaction between love, femininity and tradition creates a mechanism for the resistance of violence. In particular, it examines two Vietnamese diasporic directors’ perspective on violence in Vietnam, a place where maintaining a state of harmony and non-violence lays at the core of Vietnamese identity. The two films examined are The Scent of Green Papaya (dir. Tran Anh Hung, 1993) and Three Seasons (dir. Tony Bui, 1999).

Keywords: Identity, Vietnamese Diaspora, Femininity, Diasporic Film, Love, Violence

How to Cite: Nguyen, T. (2020) ““Mapping Vietnamese Identities in Tran Anh Hung’s and Tony Bui’s Films: Femininity and Love””, Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies. 20(1). doi: