Vietnamese film documentary “Children of the Mist” nominated for first time

January 5, 202337337 min

Vietnamese director Ha Le Diem’s documentary film “Children of the Mist” has been chosen to be among the top 15 best feature documentaries at the 95th Academy Awards.

“Children of the Mist” has already won many famous international awards, such as the International Documentary Film Award Amsterdam 2021 (IDFA 2021) and the Documentary Film Festival DOXA 2022.

“Children of the Mist” tells the story of a young girl named Di, from the Hmong ethnic minority, who was raised with many village customs that she is opposed to but had no choice but to live with.

“Children of the Mist” was turned after director Ha Le Diem spent three years with Di’s family, even becoming her friend and protector. Although Diem is also from an ethnic minority in Vietnam, Di’s daily life, including ancestral customs, is very different from Diem’s.

The symbol of this documentary is that Diem’s film is a window into learning more about the Hmong community in the mountains of northern Vietnam.

In its entirety, the film stays true to its documentary nature of withholding information, showing the true sides of the lives of teenage girls in remote areas of Vietnam, bright and intelligent children who want nothing more than the freedom to decide their own lives.

A film review by Guy Lodge of Variety commented that “Children of the Mist” did an excellent job of providing both a close-up character study and a broader ethnographic portrait. Guy stated that the film is “a rare and dedicated look at the underrepresented Hmong population of Vietnam.

Variety is most impressed with the clear, radiant heroine Di portrayed in the film, stating that “few coming-of-age protagonists have faced such an impossible arc.”

There are many press openings, “Children of the Mist” by director Ha Le Diem is being highlighted for its narrative impact and visual elements, which intrigue international audiences.

According to The Guardian’s Phuong Le, Ha Le Diem repeatedly tries to protect Di by reasoning with the kidnappers, but is rebuffed; she later admits to the girl that she didn’t think the tradition could be so brutal.

“The decision to leave in such details is particularly sobering, fracturing the supposed neutrality of the documentarians,” comments Phuong Le.

Ha Le Diem marked it by breaking one of the rules of documentary when she intruded on the life of the main character, Di. He wrote, “Children of the Mist is an excellent documentary that presents a horrific phenomenon with stark realism and through a rather artistic approach.”

For Ha Le Diem’s first film is a masterstroke, it has already received 11 awards and 14 nominations worldwide. The film is the winner of the “Best Director Award” and “First Appearance Award – Special Mention” at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Awards 2021 (IDFA 2021) in the Netherlands.

Europe celebrated the film and was awarded in many categories of humanity, such as the winner of the “Clarens Humanist Documentary Award” at Cinéma du Réel 2022 in France; the winner of the “Perception Change Award” at Nyon Visions du Réel 2022 in Switzerland.

At the DocAviv 2022 Film Festival, he won the “Best International Film” award and was praised for his colorful and vivid photography combined with clever editing.

“With a clear eye and an open heart, maturity, sensitivity, and without compromising the art of his filmmaking, Ha Le Diem’s brings to life a truly unique yet universal and political real life story.” – a statement made by the DocAviv Film Festival.

The documentary film, “Children of the Mist” also won the “Jury Prize” for documentary at the Hong Kong International Film Festival 2022. The jury called it “a documentary by a very talented first-time director, with exceptional access, well-crafted drama and some of the most heartbreaking scenes in recent documentary memory.”

Aviva Smadja

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