Boat People

Synopsis: A Japanese reporter arrives in Vietnam hoping to capture the essence the society under the rule of the Communist Party. With the help of a vietnamese girl, he eventually opens his eyes to the painful truth of postwar Vietnam.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Ann Hui
Production: International Spectrafilm
  6 wins & 7 nominations.
109 min

Boat People

Don't look at the camera...

Greet our Japanese friend Mr. Akutagawa.

Thank you.

Mr. Akutagawa is a world-famous


He took our good news

to the world three years ago.

Today he has come back to our country...

to photograph

the children of the Socialist Republic

of Vietnam...

and to show our friend

on other countries...

the new face of ourjov and happiness

Let's show Mr. Akutagawa

our highest respect.

Now we've seen

how well Mr. Akutagawa works...

and how muck he loves us.

We were singing to welcome him...

but he did't forget his job.

I hope we can all follow his example...

and show the same devotion

to our own work.

Go on!

That's Right...

Go on!

"Last night I dreamed of Chairman Ho"

"He has a long, long beard

and silvery hair"

"I long to hold him,

to snower kisses on him"

"May Chairman Ho live 10000 years!"

"May Chairman Ho live 10000 years!"

Now let's ask Mr. Akutagawa

to sing us a song!

No, no...

This is a song from Japan.

Thank you!

Good health, Mr. Akutagawa.

You seem thoughtful, Mr. Akutagawa.

Three years ago,

during the Liberation of Danang.

I took a photo

of crippled boy...

hobbling down an alley-way.

That image haunted me,

as if it symbolisted

the sufferings of Vietnam's children.

I never thought I'd come back and find...

so many healthy, lively children

I feel very happy.

I could stay here forever, not moving.

Oh dear! I hope I can make you

just as happy...

when we get back to Danang tomorrow.

Comrade Le, with your influence

in the Cultural Bureau...

If you can't, no one can!

Come on, old fellow, have a drink!

Thank you.

Are those boots American?

Yes, he got them

from a GI he killed.

They are GI boots.

Why doesn't he wear them?

He's waiting till he dies.

He'll wear them in his coffin.

Right, I'm saving them for the end.

We will send them to New Economic Zones

before long.

What's going on?

There's a fire!

Please stay here, Mr. Akutagawa.

You forget I'm a reporter!

Who's taking pictures?

Don't run, don't run!

Stay there!

Stay there!

I told you to stay there...

I'll take you with me.

I told you to stop taking pictures...

Stop, Comrade, he is a foreign friend.

I am Le Van Quyen of the Cultural Bureau.

Get up.

Call an ambulance!

Please don't take any more photos.

Stop that! He's nearly dead!

He's a reactionary elemant.

Came back to his old house...

set fire to it, and killed our Comrade

You heard he's a reactionary.

I'm sorry the policeman did that.

Do I have to give him my negative?

No need, I'm sure you won't

misuse the pictures.

Are you alright? Not hurt?

Don't worry, I've been kicked before,

in Tokyo.



How are you?

Well, and you?

They told me you were back.

I just came from the office.

Are you alrigth? You don't look well.

Seeing you makes me long

to eat sushi in Ginza.

I really miss my wife and kids.

Your wife asked me

to bring you these cakes.


How did you find the New Economic Zones?

I only saw one Zone.

The kids there

had been wandering the streets.

I was impressed.

The kids are well looked after.

They all live together

in one big group...

much happier than kids

I've seen on the streets.

Then I wonder why the government...

cannot persuade, or even force...

city people to move

to the Zones.

Why not?

Maybe I heard wrong.

You're the one who's been there.

This is Officer Nguyen, and Comrade Vu.

You are our good friend,

I'm glad to meet you.

You're very kind...

How do you do.

Please sit down!


It's French beer.

I wanted to offer you French wine...

but I've checked their stocks...

and they don't even have Chinese Moutai!

Don't worry, I'm happy with beer.


Comrade Le tells me

you had a brush with the police.

I was in the wrong myself.

Not at all, we are the ones to apologise.

I got on to the unit responsible

as soon as I heard

You have done a lot of us

in the world's press.

Now you're our honoured guest.

You'll have no more trouble.

Photograph whatever you like.

If you find anything wrong, please tell us.

We will do our best to improve!

That is true friendship!

Thank you!

Cheers, here's to success of your project.

- Thanks. - Cheers.


Comrade Le, Mr. Akutagawa,

I'm afraid we're short of staff.

Come on inside,


Let's clap our hands

to welcome our griend from Japan.

Uncle, hold me.

Uncle, hold me too.

And me!

Little friends, sit down

and let Uncle take your photo.

Don't be naughty. Sit down again.

It's alright, let them.

Let go, back to your seats.

What's going on?

Go back to your seat. Don't be naughty.

How come?

I don't know.

Maybe they all like Mr. Akutagawa.

Come with me!

Hold me... hold me...

Be good child, I'll hold you later.

I just wanted them to sit quietly

and behave themselves...

so he can see how well our orphans

are cared for.

I didn't want anything like this.

I didn't arrange it.

The children like being held.

They don't often get the chance.

Where are you staff? Washing underwear?

We're below strength.

We need three more staff.

Alright. You can stop worrying.

We'll send someone to replace you.

Hold me, Uncle.

Mr. Akutagawa!

Hold me, Uncle.

I was born not far from here.

This used to be the best place

for an evening stroll.

There were hawkers selling seafood

from boats.

Now they've all fled to Hong Kong

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Kang Chien Chiu

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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