The Unseen River

A film by

Vietnam/Laos / 23' / 08/2020 / fiction

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.

“By using extreme wide shots Lân underlines the vulnerability of the characters in these overwhelming places. He also makes a point of drawing his audience into their world of thought by following up those initial shots with quirky camera movements that deploy a slow zoom-in. This quirkiness may seem artificial, but here it feels natural, as if the camera is discovering its very own way of breathing underwater.”
Square Eyes - LF_PDD_2020_BlackLetters
Square Eyes - Schermafbeelding 2020-11-30 om 10.42.59
Square Eyes - FNC49_logo-2020OfficialCompetition_BLACK
“By using extreme wide shots Lân underlines the vulnerability of the characters in these overwhelming places. He also makes a point of drawing his audience into their world of thought by following up those initial shots with quirky camera movements that deploy a slow zoom-in. This quirkiness may seem artificial, but here it feels natural, as if the camera is discovering its very own way of breathing underwater.”
Square Eyes - LF_PDD_2020_BlackLetters
Square Eyes - Schermafbeelding 2020-11-30 om 10.42.59
Square Eyes - FNC49_logo-2020OfficialCompetition_BLACK

Phạm Ngọc Lân

Biography

Phạm Ngọc Lân is a Vietnamese film director with a background in urban planning and architecture. Lan’s debut short film ‘The Story of Ones’ (2011) has been screened in numerous film festivals and art museums. His first two short fiction films, ‘Another City’ and ‘Blessed Land’ both premiered at the Berlinale Shorts Competition. His newest short film ’The Unseen River’, which is part of the anthology project ‘MEKONG 2030’, will premiere at the Pardi di Domani in Locarno Film Festival. Currently, Lan is developing his first feature film Cu Li Never Cries.

Filmography

  • Giòng Sông Không Nhìn Thấy / The Unseen River – 2020 – 23’
  • Một Khu Đất Tốt / Blessed Land – 2019 – 19’
  • Another City / Thành Phố Khác – 2016 – 25’
  • The Story of Ones I  Chuyện Mọi Nhà – 2011 – 11’
Square Eyes - Director - Pham Ngoc Lan - Square Eyes

Crew

Director: Phạm Ngọc Lân
Screenplay: Phạm Ngọc Lân
Producer: Phạm Ngọc Lân & Ngô Đài Trang, Trần Thị Bích Ngọc
Executive Producers: Gabriel Shaya Kuperman , Alex Curran-Cardarelli
Cinematographer: Phạm Quang Minh & Nguyễn Vinh Phúc
Sound Design: Arnaud Soulier
Sound Recordists: Tô Hiếu, Arnaud Soulier, Nguyễn Ngọc Tân
Editor: Julie Béziau
Composer: Nguyễn Xuân Sơn
Production Designer: Kelly Hoàng
Cast: Wean, Naomi, Minh Châu, Nguyễn Hà Phong, Hà Hoàng, Mạc Can

Festivals

  • Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland (5 – 15 August, 2020)
    International Competition Pardi di Domani
  • Concorto Film Festival, Italy (22 – 29 August, 2020)
    International Competition Won: Gran Premio Asino d’oro Golden Donkey
  • Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival, Thailand (3 – 6 September, 2020)
    Asean Short Film Competition Won: Jury Award
  • New York Film Festival, United States (mid-September – mid-October, 2020)
    Currents
  • Batumi International Art-House Film Festival, Georgia (13 – 20 September, 2020)
    Competition
  • Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, United Kingdom (17 September – 11 October, 2020)
    New Cinema Competition
  • Black Canvas – Festival for Contemporary Cinema, Mexico (1 – 10 October, 2020)
    Short Film Competition
  • Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival, Portugal (3 – 11 October, 2020)
    International Competition Won: Best Short Film
  • Festival Du Nouveau Cinema, Canada (7 – 18 October, 2020)
    Short Film Competition
  • Pacific Meridian International Film Festival, Russia (10 – 16 October, 2020)
    Competition
  • Chicago International Film Festival​, United States (14 – 25 October, 2020)
    Short Film Competition
  • Uppsala Short Film Festival, Sweden (19 – 25 October, 2020)
    International Competition
  • Valladolid International Film Festival, Spain (24 – 31 October, 2020)
    Official Selection
  • Message to Man International Film Festival, Russia (3 – 8 November, 2020)
    International Competition
  • Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland (3 – 8 November, 2020)
    International Competition
  • L’Alternativa – Festival Cinema Independent de Barcelona, Spain (16 – 29 November, 2020)
    Competition
  • Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore (26 November – 6 December, 2020)
    Southeast Asian Short Film Competition Won: Youth Jury Prize
  • Winter Apricots: Prilep International Film Festival, Macedonia (18 – 19 December, 2020)
    Official Selection
  • Minimalen Short Film Festival, Norway (12 – 17 January, 2021)
    International Competition
  • Sundance Film Festival, United States (28 January – 3 February, 2021)
    Short Film Competition
  • Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, France (29 January – 6 February, 2021)
    Lab Competition Special Mention
  • Lebu International Film Festival. Chile (13 – 21 March, 2021)
    Fiction Selection
  • Akbank Short Film Festival, Turkey (22 March – 1 April, 2021)
    International Competition
  • Lesley University Independent Film Festival, United States (24 – 26 April, 2021)
    Official Selection
  • Internationale Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg, Germany (21 – 30 May, 2021)
    International Competition
  • VIENNA SHORTS – International Short Film Festival, Austria (27 May – 1 June, 2021)
    Fiction & Documentary Competition
  • Hamburg Short Film Festival, Germany (1 – 7 June, 2021)
    International Competition
  • Prague Short Film Festival, Czech Republic (2 – 27 June, 2021)
    Labo Section
  • Austin Asian American Film Festival, United States (4 – 20 June, 2021)
  • Regard – Festival international du court métrage au Saguenay (7 – 30 June 2021)
    Official Competition
  • Palm Springs International ShortFest, United States (22 – 28 June, 2021)
    Official Selection
  • Tenerife Shorts – La Laguna International Short Film Festival, Spain (25 – 27 June, 2021)
    International Competition
  • Tabor Film Festival, Croatia (8 – 11 July, 2021)
    International Competition
  • Filmfest Dresden, Germany (13 – 18 July, 2021)
    International Competition

Password




Press materials

EPK: Click here

Stills, poster & director’s photo: Click here

Dialogue list English: Click here

Downloadable trailer: Click here

Press quotes

“Less than a year after the sweltering ‘Blessed Land’, [Phạm Ngọc Lân] delivers yet another astonishing and beautiful short.”
Review: Water as Conductor – Bo Alfaro Decreton – Talking Shorts