After making its international premiere at the acclaimed Locarno Film Festival, “The Unseen River” (“Giòng Sông Không Nhìn Thấy”) will travel to the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.
Produced by the Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF), “The Unseen River” is one of five short films from the MEKONG 2030 anthology, a collection of narratives that envision the future of the Mekong River from different national and cultural perspectives within the region.
Directed by Pham Ngoc Lan, this is the Vietnamese filmmaker’s fourth short film, preceded by “Blessed Land” (Drama 19’, 2019), “Another City” (Drama, 25’, 2016), and “The Story of Ones” (Documentary, 10’, 2011).
“The Unseen River” will be the only Vietnemse film to screen at the festival. The film follows Mrs. Nguyen (Minh Chau), a woman traveling upstream to a hydroelectric power plant to meet her lover from 30 years prior, and Thuc (Wean), a sleepless boy, traveling downstream to meet a monk who cures insomnia.
The complete anthology, MEKONG 2030, has made an impressive splash on the festival circuit, with a stop at the highly regarded Tokyo International Film Festival.
Film critic Alfonse Chiu has observed that, “Mekong 2030′s cynical futurism and eco-criticism is refreshing for its diversity of voices. […] Brimming with urgency, the anthology poses a necessary question with an imminent deadline; now it is up to the world to answer.”
“The Unseen River” has been particularly successful on the short film festival circuit, making its North American premiere at the 58th New York Film Festival and receiving the Golden Donkey Best Film Award at the 19th Concorto Film Festival.
The Concorto Film Festival called the short, “A film like a dream […] A film that absorbed and overwhelmed us,” while film critique Jeremy Sing says, “The Unseen River” anchors the concept of time, memories and connections most strongly and is rightly positioned as a fitting end to the series.”
“The Unseen River” will be available on-demand on 28 January – 3 February 2021 on Sundance Film Festival’s online screening platform.
The other four short films in MEKONG 2030 are: “Soul River” (dir. Kulikar Sotho, Cambodia), “The Che Brother” (dir. Anysay Keola, Laos), “The Forgotten Voices of the Mekong” (dir. Sai Naw Kham, Myanmar) and “The Line” (dir. Anocha Suwichakornpong, Thailand).