At the Vancouver Playhouse
In 1980’s Saigon, tough and embittered debt-collector Dung Thunderbolt works for a relentless loan shark, exacting rough consequences on those who don’t pay up. One day his boss sends him to collect from a local Cải Lương folk opera troupe who are running behind on their payments. There he meets Linh Phung, the young star of their new production who reluctantly impresses Dung when he stands up to his intimidation tactics. When Linh and Dung cross paths by chance again, they develop a friendship which grows into something more; a tender, tentative connection informed by a mutual love of music, storytelling and a desire for a higher purpose and connection. Dung can’t help but let down his guard around Linh’s sincerity and curiosity. As his heart opens up to the potential of love and re-connection with his creative self, he has to confront his painful past and reconcile with his own damaged relationship to the sensitive young boy he once was.
Director Leon Le delivers an operatic first feature film set against the dreamy, faded beauty of Vietnam’s most iconic, resilient city. Song Lang is both a tribute to the golden age of Cải Lương, and to the sweet cautious stirrings of budding desire.
Content Advisory: Explicit Violence.
Song Lang | Leon Le | USA | 2018 | 101 min | Vietnamese with English subtitles.