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Sheila Ngoc Pham's essay gives an encompassing look at graphic novels by diasporic Vietnamese comic artists—Thi Bui, GB Tran, Marcelino Truong, Clement Baloup—from different countries: "All of these works span the turbulent last century of Vietnamese history, and are complementary as well as overlapping. Beginning with life under French colonial administration and the struggle for independence, right through to life during the war and thereafter—when we became refugees, migrants, transnationals, travelers."
A review of Mai Khoi & The Dissidents' music performance, by Monique Truong: "Throughout the band’s eleven-song set list, Mai Khoi’s lyrics declared, boldly and without a doubt—they were literally the writing on the wall—that she’s a citizen of a country that systematically controls and silences the free expression of its populace…"
I could say more here, about mistaken-ness and being mistaken, about refugees and human rights groups, about dogs on leashes, about signs and guns, and the 11th-Hour Remnant or the New Aryan Nation. About navigating Asian American identity here in Idaho as a public school teacher, coach, parent, and neighbor.
Thi Bui: "Many of us don’t bother to vote while others cannot vote because laws and bureaucracies have been created to suppress their vote. This is a shaky democracy. But the stakes are so high that we must each do this small thing - show up to the polls, drop off that mail-in ballot, vote as an exercise of the democracy that, while imperfect, still exists."
A review of Vietnamese Australian poet Nguyễn Tiên Hoàng's Captive and Temporal. Hoàng explains: “The landscape I am 'in' often determines the choice of language. It could very well be a combination of landscape viewed and landscape conjured up from mental storage…"
Filmmaker profile on Vu Pham: "The Horizon is a Scar, My Love is a work of raw truth envisaged from fever dreams, hallucinations, and memories."
The films reflect the diverse lives of Vietnamese across the world, an aspect of the film festival that has become the event’s signature. This year more than fifty percent of films selected for the three-day festival were either directed or produced by women, according to the fest’s press release.
diaCRITICS editor Viet Thanh Nguyen writes on the rigidity of defined borders and recognizing the importance of immigrants in America's history: "I am an immigrant. I am also a human being, an American, a Vietnamese, an Asian and a refugee. I do not have to choose among these identities, despite those who would insist that I do."