QFILMS REVIEW: Queer Teen Explores Mother’s Past as Vietnam War Refugee in Short Film ‘Nuoc’


Images courtesy of Nước

With the Long Beach LGBTQ Film Festival (QFilms) right around the corner, set to celebrate its opening night this Thursday, the Long Beach Post has been given the opportunity to view and review a few of the films ahead of time so you can get a feel for what to expect. And there’s always something new to learn through the creative vision of the inspired filmmakers that make this festival great.


Nước is a six-minute shot to the heart. It’s a visceral, gut-wrenching, heartfelt string of moments, a “fantastical series of iconic historic photographs,” that describe how a queer Vietnamese American teen tries to understand their mother’s background as a refugee of the Vietnam War.

Don’t underestimate director and writer Quyên Nguyen-Le’s ability to pack an emotional punch within seconds of the film’s start, as the viewer is quickly drawn into the intimacy of what seems like two lovers interacting with very few words within a darkroom.

The aforementioned iconic photographs are twisted into the mind of the main character, as she refutes what she hears from her partner as a close-minded way to view the Vietnam War and those involved. The teen’s photographs and thoughts blend together to conjure what makes the film experimental, dream-like environments, such as a protest, the inside of a womb and a dry desert landscape.


The film seems to conclude with a theme of acceptance. Just as the main character’s mother shows a gesture of openness toward her teenager’s partner by inviting her over for a traditional Vietnamese dish, so too does the protagonist seem to become more comfortable asking about her mother’s past.

Nước will be screened at the Art Theatre on Saturday, September 10 at 10:30AM alongside six other Queer & Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Shorts. You can watch the trailer here. To purchase tickets, click here


 For more information about QFilms, click here

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