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In the 2016 film Father and Son, director Luong Dinh Dung shares a typical story of fatherhood in Vietnamese culture. The father appears to be tough and acts as a reliable shelter for his son, giving him much needed wings to fly higher and further.

The boy Ca (meaning “fish”), lives with his father on a riverbank and dreams of the city where he can touch the clouds in the sky over the tallest structure which he calls “the building of future.” That dream stands in stark contrast with the reality of Ca and his father’s life. Ca contracts a fatal disease, darkening his dream and making his father Moc miserable. However, there is resolution when Moc carries his son on his back and climbs up the “building of the future” where clouds hover in the sky ­– the sight in Ca’s dream.

Tears, sweat and pain permeate simple joys, forming the backbone of the story: fatherhood. Besides fatherhood, the film also coveys an overlying theme of familial bonds and humanity. A woman harbors deep suffering after her family is torn apart following a flood, and an impoverished old man and his grandchild struggle with life and death in the hospital. These scenes mingle together and are reflected in the melodious soundtrack by Korean composer Lee Dong Jun.

“I want to carry out a work of human love rather than mere sorrow. I hope the audience will feel at ease while watching this film, and shaken by its humane message,” Luong Dinh Dung explained in an interview with Zing.vn.

Awards and Nominations

The film has reaped various international prizes including Best Narrative Feature Film in the 17th DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival (2017), and Best Director and Best Cinematographer at the 2017 New York Eurasian Film Festival. It  premiered at the 13th ReelHeART International Film & Screenplay Festival in Toronto (2017) and was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, Best Actor (Do Trong Tan as Ca) and Best Sound.