Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989), with response from Carol O’Sullivan

Directed by Trinh T. Minh-ha, Associate Producer Jean-Paul Bourdier

‘Of marriage and loyalty: “Daughter, she obeys her father/ Wife, she obeys her husband/ Widow, she obeys her son.”’

Vietnamese-born Trinh T. Minh-ha’s profoundly personal documentary explores the role of Vietnamese women historically and in contemporary society. Using dance, printed texts, folk poetry and the words and experiences of Vietnamese women in Vietnam—from both North and South—and the United States, Trinh’s film challenges official culture with the voices of women.

Image of the same woman taken from several angles

A theoretically and formally complex work, Surname Viet Given Name Nam explores the difficulty of translation, and themes of dislocation and exile, critiquing both traditional society and life since the war.

Following the film Dr Carol O’Sullivan will offer a response and facilitate the discussion. Carol is a Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Bristol, where she coordinates the MA programme in translation. Her research focuses on translation and film. She is currently working on the origins of subtitling in English in the 20s and 30s, and on visual alterations to film texts in translation. She is generally interested in issues surrounding text on screen.


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