Boat People, 1982 - ★★★★

Boat People, 1982 - ★★★★

"The lucky ones get farm work, the others get land mine duty" - To Minh (Andy Lau)

Sensationalized yet powerful account of Vietnamese people after the mid '70s communist takeover caused 100's of 1000's of its refugees to flee to Hong Kong and other Eastern territories. It centers on fictional Tokyo born Japanese photojournalist Mr. Akutagawa, having lost his parents during the US wwII bombing raids of Japan, and had been a war photographer during the Vietnam war. He goes back to Danang to cover how the people are living post-war under communist rule. At first he's shown the side of the city the authorities want him to see, then he befriends Cam Noung the fatherless 14 year old daughter of a prostitute, who shows him the less pleasant side of life.

Falls slightly short of being a cast iron classic for me. While its unquestionably a very well made movie by Ann Hui with its heart in the right place, it at times feels heavy-handed almost exploitation movie feeling, especially during Andy Lau's scenes as the young man forced to flee his country after being wrongly branded a criminal for draft dodging. Though it does boast fantastic performances from both George Lam as Akutagawa (a very likable similar character to The Killing Fields Dith Pran) who is fondly referred to most the time simply as uncle, and Season Ma as the forced to grow up quick Cam Noung.

Originally taken from Letterboxd

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