19.03.24, 20:30, Surname Viêt Given Name Nam (1989)

In Surname Viêt Given Name Nam, Trinh T. Minh-ha speaks nearby — and certainly not about — the stories and experiences of Vietnamese women. Minh-ha, one of the most respected postcolonial filmmakers of the 20th century and also a professor, theorist, musicologist, and composer, weaves together both real and staged interviews, archival footage and prints in a seemingly inscrutable way, pushing a multitude of subjective truths to the limit. In doing so, following her first film, Reassemblage (1982), she again refuses to subject the people she portrays to the observational logic of ethnographic documentaries and, as a post-structuralist thinker, breaks with common ideas around objectivity, realism, representation and observability.

Without sacrificing concern for the subject in question, Trinh T. Minh ha thereby places her own gaze and position, as well as that of the viewer, at the centre. After all, authorship in the process of making meaning is equivalent to power. It is precisely this power relationship, in which one fixes the other in his gaze and capitulates within the authoritarian limits of his worldview, that she wants to condemn to the past. In Surname Viêt Given Name Nam, she invites you to explore the border paths and expand your gaze on the thin lines where many truths intersect.

This film is screened by Film-Plateau on the occasion of the honorary doctorate that will be awarded to Trinh T. Minh-ha on 22 March 2024 by the Department of Communication Sciences at Ghent University.

This film will be introduced by film scholar Alexander De Man.

Trinh Minh-Ha, 1989, USA, 108', Vietnamese and English spoken, English subtitles
i.c.w. Film-Plateau
Campus Bijloke
Godshuizenlaan 4
9000 Gent