The Vietnam war ended 45 years ago, but still has a lasting impact. In the documentary ‘Scars of War’ we follow the story of Yến-Nhi Lê, the daughter of a war refugee, on her journey of understanding her father, the war and herself.
Yến-Nhi Lê(23) grew up in Maarssen, a small town near Utrecht. Her father is a refugee from Huế in Vietnam. She struggles with her own identity and has questions about her father, a difficult man with a mysterious past. Why is he the way that he is, and where does his behavior come from?
In ‘Scars of War’, the documentary short directed by writer/creator Orihana Calcines (24), Yen-Nhi speaks in a disarmingly open way with her childhood friend, her Dutch grandfather, her mother, a trauma specialist and her sister. What is it like growing up between two cultures, and how does a war find ways to stay with you? All encounters lead up to the conversation with her father that she has been yearning for.
Yen-Nhi: “Starting this conversation with my father has brought me so many incredible things. It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but after this confrontation, I feel connected with him, my family and my roots again. If this inspires people to start an open conversation, I have achieved my goal. Understanding each other is a great way to start healing. ”
"Understanding each other is a great way to start healing."
The director/editor was born in Venezuela, on a different continent with a completely different culture. Still, she shares specific experiences with Yến-Nhi and her family.
Orihana: “When Yến-Nhi told me that she used to have to translate letters for her parents, just like I used to do, it all clicked for me. On paper we seem very different, but so much is exactly the same: you never feel completely at home, you have a strange relationship with your parents, it’s difficult to relate to Dutch children. This helped me a lot with processing a certain shame. We are not as alone as we think we are.”
"We are not as alone as we think we are."
The documentary can be found below. You can also leave a comment or rating on IMDB. Or check out EP. 6 of the Beyond Asian podcast where Orihana and I discuss the making of our documentary.