Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 8:00pm to 9:00pm
SYNOPSIS: Stories told along the river: a woman reunites with her ex-lover at a hydroelectric plant; meanwhile, a young man travels downstream to a temple in search of a cure for his insomnia.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT: The Unseen River examines the metaphorical connection between the Mekong River, time, and sleep: In various art forms, the river is often compared to the flow of time. In that way, the characters’ journeys downstream and upstream are metaphors for their journey through time. In this short film, MRS. NGUYỆN travels upstream to visit her former place of work (an old hydroelectric plant). Based on the reading above, her journey can be understood as moving backward through time to an event in the past that shaped her subsequent life, just like how the hydroelectric dam blocked and redirected the river. In the other storyline: a young couple – THỰC and his GIRLFRIEND, in the same way, travels to the future in search of a cure for a present ailment (insomnia). An absurd and illogical choice of youth, but just as one character says: the worst thing about not being able to sleep is not being able to dream. And without dreams, it’s difficult to see the past and feel the touch of the future.
This premise might seem conflicting at first but is nonetheless provocative and proposes a challenge: How can the characters journey through time while they are very much standing still in the present? I believe that cinema is able to tackle this.