Director John Bling
Starring Ann Troung
Director Jon Bling’s transnational film puts the spotlight on a young woman’s journey of the heart as she deals with intergenerational and intercultural gaps. When Kim (Ann Troung) a young Vietnamese Australian woman, hears about her estranged father’s death, she returns to Vietnam for the first time in 10 years to begin the process of reconciliation and healing. Caught between two worlds, Kim must decide what she wants to learn and take from her homeland. In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), she gets reacquainted with an old extended family friend, Bao, who gives her a local view of the city. As she explores the dynamics of the place she had left behind, the tension between wanting to forget the past and always remembering begins to fade. With its completely bilingual dialog, the film shows the language limitations of a Westernized generation and the emotional confusion that comes with navigating what it means to be Vietnamese in today’s hybridized world.
As she plays childhood card games and recalls old romantic love songs—Kim’s cold demeanor begins to melt and the audience sees the beginnings of joy for someone who is finally discovering who she is and what she wants. Yet will she stay in Vietnam with Bao or return to her other life with her white boyfriend in Australia who had just proposed marriage? Despite one’s lack of linguistic fluency, Never Forget reminds us that the language of love is always powerfully and clearly understood, no matter where you are.
By Long Bui
In attendance at movie screening: Jon Bling (Director)
Jon Bling is a filmmaker. Nothing more. Nothing less. From humble beginnings in high school where a video camera was never out of sight, he has spent the last 10 years honing his craft. Working on many projects such as experimental short films, international music videos and numerous commercials, his first foray into feature film was a long time coming. Never Forget was his passion project and he is honoured that this is his feature film debut.
“Never Forget” is a very personal journey from when I visited Vietnam for the very first time back in 2010. Everything fascinated me. The culture, the food, the way of life and although it is a beautiful country, it will always be a piece of history for my family, especially my parents who had to flee to Australia in order for my brother and I to have a better life. This film is a gorgeous but painful reminder of our true beginnings and what might have happened if we didn’t leave. Every location, every person, every idea we had will always be carved into this film.
*Refrences Viet Film Fest California
Ann Troung, John Bling