Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam

33 min., color, sound, 1994

"A frog that sits at the bottom of a well thinks that the

whole sky is only as big as the lid of a pot."

When two American sisters travel north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, conversations with Vietnamese strangers and friends reveal to them the flip side of a shared history. Lynne and Dana Sachs' travel diary of their trip to Vietnam is a collection of tourism, city life, culture clash, and historic inquiry that's put together with the warmth of a quilt. "Which Way Is East" starts as a road trip and flowers into a political discourse. It combines Vietnamese parables, history and memories of the people the sisters met, as well as their own childhood memories of the war on TV. To Americans for whom "Vietnam" ended in 1975, "Which Way Is East" is a reminder that Vietnam is a country, not a war. The film has a combination of qualities: compassion, acute observational skills, an understanding of history's scope, and a critical ability to discern what's missing from the textbooks and TV news. (excerpted from article in The Independent by Susan Gerhard)

"Captures the Vietnam experience with comprehension and compassion, squeezing a vast and incredible country into an intriguing film." Dale Basye, Portland Tonic Magazine

"The sound track is layered with the cacophony of bustling city streets, the chirps of cicadas and gentle rustles of trees in the countryside, and the visuals, devoid of travelogue clichés, are a collage of pictorial snippets taken from unusual vantage points.... What comes through is such a strong sense of the place you can almost smell it." Ted Shen, The Chicago Reader

Screenings: Sundance Film Festival; Atlanta Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize; New York Film Expo, Best Documentary; Black Maria Film Fest, Director's Citation; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Cinematheque; "Arsenal" Film Festival, Riga, Latvia; Pacific Film Archive; Mill Valley Film Festival; San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival; Big Muddy Film Festival, Honorable Mention; Chicago Underground Film Fest; Melbourne Film Fest; Sydney Film Fest; Ann Arbor Film Fest; Denver Film Fest.

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Women Make Movies
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Canyon Cinema
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