Ein Haus in Ninh Hoa
Philip Widmann & Phuong-Dan Nguyen
Germany, 108 min
In the 1970s, the three Le family sons were separated by History: one, appointed to be a diplomat, left South Vietnam for West Germany and moved to Bonn with his children. He has never returned to his country. The second, a soldier, disappeared during the final days of the war. His body has never been found. And the third was sent to a re-education camp during the country’s reunification in 1975. He is the only man of the family living in the Ninh Hoa house today.
This house is therefore an almost imaginary place, a home recreated by the authors to welcome this uprooted family, between past, present and future. Filmed in tableaux, the day-to-day life of the women who have remained is anchored in the clammy torpor of the surrounding rice paddies. This heavy atmosphere, frozen in the past, reveals the quest of the children, coming back from Germany during the summer, to find their disappeared uncle and to sell the house that they had built, imagining their parents’ return to the country. It is the quest for a family life that does not exist and whose ghosts remain trapped in the meanders of time.