Monthly Archives: March 2014

Movies in Vietnamese Culture

oh saigon 220px-The_Rebel_poster

Part of the research into the media which is developed in Vietnam is a study of the cinema which is produced there,  due to it being a small third-world country the amount of movies produced and view-able in today’s modern world is limited as Vietnam isn’t necessarily at the forefront of the cinema industry as much as Hollywood or Bollywood. Instead the films are often small and done by families who enlist family members to portray characters, there are several families which dominate the industry and have produced a few good films which have grabbed the attention of the world. More common are movies about Vietnam produced in America most notably among these are war movies such as Forrest Gump  or Deer Hunter.   However these movies do not accurately portray the countries as they are intentionally biased towards the American Audience and our perspective of the war, however i did find a movie directed by a Vietnamese director but produced in America. The movie is titled Oh Saigon (2007)and while it does focus on the war in Vietnam it tells the tale of a family which is struggling during the war, accosted by both sides of the conflict the family must struggle with the decision to stay or leave Saigon, the capital of Vietnam where they have lived their entire lives. The aesthetics of the movie are meant to appear old, displaying the lives of these Vietnamese people with accurate footage displaying Saigon and  well known Vietnam war images as well.  It is a deep and emotional movie, very slow in most cases documenting the events leading up the families evacuation from the city.  This film being produced by Americans is very well done and while it is made in america it still focuses heavily on the Vietnamese people and not on the soldiers of the United States. This film highlights how much family means to the Vietnamese people, this is a theme known throughout the indo-pacific, strong ties to family and loyalty to their country is a strong theme shown in their aesthetics. Many of the websites and advertisements i have viewed display this pride in their country by incorporating red and gold into the design somewhere, this point is later reitterated with the end of the movie displaying the proud symbol of vietnam.

In Contrast another movie filmed in 2007 called The Rebel  or ” Dong Mau Anh Hung” is completely filmed, produced, and written in Vietnam.  It is an action movie much to my delight and focuses on the time where France was attempting to colonize Vietnam back in the 1920s. Vietnam has been under constant threat from other countries during its entire existence, this is due to its location on the coast and the prospect of being a great trading area. The french attempted to subdue the people of Vietnam and as a result just as with the U.S invasion, many rebel groups began to appear in Vietnam. This movie follows not a Vietnamese rebel but rather a cultured french Vietnamese man who works with the colonists to extend their rule over the peninsula. During this however he meets a young rebel women who he soon develops feelings for and eventually becomes a fugitive rebel fighter as well after discovering she is in danger from a mole in her organisation. The movie is full of martial arts which is what drew me to it initially as  a martial artist myself i found myself smiling as the fights progressed and the origins of my own martial arts back then known as Te and now known as Karate. This movie was extremely well done being filmed in Vietnam villages on location no recreations the movie is very good at puting you in colonial Vietnam. The villages, clothing, images of agriculture combined with the all Vietnamese actors really allows a Vietnamese audience to identify with the characters. Especially the rebels in the films, the Vietnamese paint these as heroes  and reminds the audience of the fact that Vietnam has always been in conflict with foreign powers first with Japan in ancient times, then France in the 1920s and then America during the Vietnam War.  This streak of independence and willingness to fight is characteristic of the Vietnamese people, however their fear of what might happen if they are wrong is also clearly on display in the lead character of the film as he struggles within himself to obey the law of the occupants or to fight alongside his countrymen. This film truly defines the need for these people to be left alone, and how they will fight to defend their independence no matter the cost, it shows their intense sense of national pride and sense of self as Vietnamese people.The coloring of the film is surprisingly vibrant, but then most action movies are and there is definite evidence that the films of Vietnam draw inspiration from Hollywood enhancing action scenes vividly before withdrawing to make the scenes indoors seem dark and muted. This coloring and effects in this movie are wonderful combining beautiful nature scenes with great action sequences i highly recommend it.


Snapshot p.247



For years now, ever since i was younger my family has been vacationing to Orlando, Florida. I am truly blessed to be able to do this with my family, most of the times we fly down, rent a car, and stay at a hotel for seven to ten days. We have a unique balance of just resting by the pool and exploring theme parks. The theme parks of Orlando including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World are amazing places to go, each one offers its own unique style to tourists year round. My family however considers ourselves veterans of the whole affair and have our vacations almost down to a science. We tend to stay at Universal Studios Hotels, we find the food and entertainment available is higher quality than that of the Walt Disney World resorts. Another added bonus of these resorts is that all three of them are within walking distance of Universal City walk and the two theme parks.  I think however my favorite part about staying at these hotels is the early access to the parks and the fast passes which come with the room. This is a clever marketing scheme by universal actually as it allows people to get to the parks early, fly through all the rides multiple times and then go back to the hotel and spend money on food and drinks or go to City Walk and shop there at the stores.  Its the hour and a half early opening for those staying at the hotels which allows for an interesting look at the parks, this is especially true if there is a brand new attraction at the park. Everyone swarms to the new attraction because they know it will be jammed up later with a wait time of over an hour and a half which no one wants to stand in. So was the case last summer when we visited for ten days, the new Transformers 4D ride had opened up, my brother and I were interested so we made sure to wake up early, grab breakfast from the buffet i grabbed my coffee and we set off, we got into the park with the first twenty or so people and went on the ride which in my opinion wasn’t very special, admittedly the imagery and effects were great however it paled into comparison with the coasters that are offered. After this my brother and i decided to wander the park, it was empty. Every alleyway, every street,  every walk way and every line was completely empty. It was stunning and i had to take a picture of my brother, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, on vacation in a park there are always other people about to draw attention away from the center of the image and the rest of the shot, this photo was taken outside the Terminator 2 experience, and is normally packed with tourists, its almost impossible to walk from one end to the other without at least one near collision it is that full. However at this particular time it was completely empty and i wanted to capture an image of the sheer emptiness which i have never seen before. I thought the movie style backdrop was perfect and my brothers stance is priceless, completely laid back, at ease and a bit annoyed I’m making him stand in the middle of an empty street for a photo. The shining sun shows how amazing the day was and it was a great early start which we thoroughly enjoyed. We don’t get to spend all day with each other like we used to and so when we do we like to make it memorable and do something special, a combination of waking up early without our parents and the knowledge of the park layout allowed us to do everything which we wanted to do including several rides multiple times as the lines were completely empty.  I love the atmosphere of Universal Studios, the entire movie media scene is all one big advertisement, one big fantasy world, a beautiful representation of what fun means to Americans. Colorful, loud, exciting, and busy are all words i use to describe an Americans version of fun and Universal Studios embodies every aspect of it.

Snapshot pg 168 Game Time!

pats game

In perhaps one of the greatest examples of people being photographed in a way to represent what they are celebrating in a massive event is a sports event. Sports are a perfect example of dressing up for an occasion and following strict guidelines for having an amazing time. If you want to be part of the masses then you have to be prepared and in New England that means Jerseys and multiple layers. Representing New England above are the Bruschi twins Tim Shaw and James Cote, as well as the rest of Tim’s family that does what hundreds of new Englanders do every football season Tailgating and enjoying a great game. Navy Blue and Silver and White and Grey are very common colors, the occasional red is represented too when people have the legacy jersey’s. In the cold of new England, fashionable winter gear is not necessarily needed however it doesn’t hurt to have a good  North face on hand, and under armor against cold is always a good idea to stay warm.  Sports fans everywhere represent their teams by wearing their various uniforms, the uniforms themselves are gorgeous in design and some very promising improvements are well on the way. Concepts for these new uniforms found here( and below show off a team’s colors in new fantastic ways which will allow for a greater spectacle of variation upon variation of some of the greatest color schemes in the world. Uniforms always have a great blend of color, there are no truly ugly uniforms in the professional sports around the world each uniform is carefully designed to not only have colors but a color scheme they can use in hundreds of ways.  Not only do sports teams have a color but normally an image associated with it, the New England Patriots have what we call “The Flying Elvis” a minuteman crouched over a ball is also a well associated image and helps to increase the ways to represent a team.  Other popular images used are intimidating animals which are fierce predators you probably won’t find a team called the rabbits ; these add an intimidation factor to each uniform and allow colors to behave not necessarily as person but as a force, red is very effective however any bright color when applied to a large crowd. This allows for a massive amount of advertisements as everybody wants to get a picture with their friends and family before a game, it shows a relationship between people as they cheer on their respective teams and become a part of an amazing atmosphere where what colors you wear decide how you will behave, this particular game was against the Pittsburgh Steelers and it was supposed to get blisteringly cold, but noonday sun and afternoon skies were bright and clear that day allowing for some great tailgating. Once the game began we soon realized a few seats away were some very enthusiastic Steelers fans, representing their team in bright yellow outfits they were fairly alone in a swarm of blues and grey of the surrounding New Englanders. They were not too happy as the Patriots proceeded to dominate the entire game, it seemed every time I sat down I would jump up again as the team scored again and again part of the mass of Blue which defines Gillette Stadium when the patriots are home where they belong.  afc-east



What I was trying to accomplish with this postcard was capturing the most beautiful part of all of Rhode Island. Beaver tail park is a place extremely close to my heart and the location that this picture that I found is one that I recognize as I have literally walked over those rocks thousands of times before, the image itself is a decent amount larger and is part of a series of pictures however I thought this was the most beautiful purely for my connection to it. I love this park, it is an amazing place where the sea meets the rocks and the waves pound in your ears. The rush of the wind as it comes off the sea, the pure clean air and the amazing view. Sunsets at theis park are truly a marvel to behold and every second is spent in complete and total relaxation and bliss. It is one of the most romantic places on earth as well as I have witnessed multiple marriages occur there on the bluffs of the vcliffs over looking the sea. The pools at the base of the cliffs have abundant wildlife, hundreds of crabs and other invertebrates call those pools home and you will often find children and adults alike chasing after an elusive crab as it buries itself under the rocks.  I am trying to draw the attention of people not from Rhode island or from central Rhode Island because this truly is a tranquil place, and only fifteen minutes away from Jamestown and a little bit farther from Newport there is good food and a good mood only a short trip away. There is a beach nearby as well called Mackerel Cove and you can literally see it from the bluffs, I spent a lot of time here and plan to spend even more in the future, going from the beach to the cliffs to the nearby amazing seafood restaurants is one of the fondest parts of my recent memories. Every one of those days was happy because near the ocean that is where I and many people are most relaxed, it’s like a miniature paradise, a little slice of heaven with nature all around. Everyone who has grown up in the nearby vicinity of the park has been there and savored its fantastic beauty, it is a valued fishing spot and even has a nice little aquarium showing off some of the local species and others that have been swept up the coast from Florida. It truly is a marvelous place and has a special place in many hearts around New England, it is however fairly remote and as it is on the edge of our coast overlooking the sea there are many places like it, but to me this one  spot on the coast is where I feel all the stress of the world melt away, its almost magical. Trying to capture something with that kind of power in a photograph is impossible, hopefully this is compelling enough to spark a few visits to this special place in my heart.

Print Ads!

HIV ad print ad 4 print ad 5 print ad Toyota vietnam

Observing print advertisements out of Vietnam two things immediately became apparent when comparing with the advertisements seen on websites. One is that Vietnamese advertisements are all extremely text based; most of the print ads have at least a few sentences in Vietnamese, and whole sentences not just brief slogans like American advertisements. These sentences may contain information about an upcoming event which is being advertised, that seems to be the most popular type of print ad I have found. At least two of the adverts I have found advertise New Year or Tet, which is the largest holiday in Vietnam.  Id classify these as high density advertisements as they have a decent amount of text with very little open white spaces, in fact only one advertisement has a great deal of white in it and what it lacks in images it makes up for in text with a descriptive paragraph which I cannot read.  However since it is a HIV testing advertisement, as the letters HIV stand out clearly on the page,it sends a clear message. The rest of the advertisements are not so clear and only after reading the description can I understand them. This is due to the language barrier which advertisements are supposed to be able to cross to be effective, however since these advertisements are print advertisements in papers and magazines I can understand how this is less relevant as they are specifically targeting the Vietnamese. The other pattern I picked up was the color scheme of the advertisements, this being almost all the time bright red coloration. The color red seems to have a special place in the Vietnamese people’s hearts. As the banner to rally behind to defeat the U.S.A in the war the red flag of Vietnam is a symbol of their pride and it translates all over their culture so that almost every advertisement or important message which needs to have attention drawn to it is in red.  The other part of the flag is the gold star of Vietnam, this gold or yellow is also reflected in the advertisements appearing as a backdrop for text or another image. These two colors are constants which I have remarked on before and it seems to continue to repeat itself in every advertisement I come across from that is out of Vietnam. Other advertisements in Vietnamese but not directly from Vietnam tend to use modern paint schemes many of these are from the U.S targeting the local Vietnamese populations and are easily identified by a logo in English probably from California as there is a substantial Veitnamese and Mongh presence. This allowed me to filter out the ones that are directly from Vietnam, the red and gold, and separate it from the American based blue and white advertisements. If one divides these ads into a thirds grid I noticed that the images tend to be center and slightly to the right or directly center with text either underneath or off to the left, this is again a consistency which extends across the advertisements.