Journey from the Fall (Vuot Song) (2007)—Vietnam
When the credits run at the end of this film, director and writer Ham Tran (a graduate of UCLA 's film school) dedicates his wrenching drama to the millions of ordinary citizens who fled Vietnam on boats (the "boat people") or who, having stayed behind out of loyalty to their country, were subjected to horrific "re-education" camps because they dared to oppose the "revolution." The story begins with the fall of Vietnam to the communists on April 30, 1975, and ends in Orange County, California in 1981. Tran follows the harrowing fate and fortunes of one family (and in various sub-plots their friends). The father, Long, is imprisoned in successive re-education camps. He insists that his wife, mother, and son flee on the overcrowded, rickety boats. And so a deeply loving family is rent asunder. The communists in their brutality, observes the grandmother, "have lost their humanity." I won't spoil the film by revealing what happens to the family, only to say that the challenge of immigrating to the US is as arduous as surviving as a refugee. The film has won awards at sixteen film festivals. In Vietnamese with English subtitles.