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Vietnam, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus / Emergence)

Director: Pham Nhue Giang

A popular title selected for the prestigious 2002 Berlin Film Festival International Forum, The Deserted Valley is a film of universal relevance. Ethnic minorities in Vietnam's remote provinces carve out an existence largely disconnected from western influence - their lives rarely investigated in international cinema.

In a mountainous region of the country's far north, two young female teachers and a janitor struggle to keep the local school running. The trio has successfully managed to draw local ethnic children, typically set to work in the fields, to its doors. Weighing up their dedication to the school, the three must also comes to terms with their own personal and romantic aspirations.

A narrative built on the backs of real life experiences, the film unfolds with lush photography of Vietnam's mist shrouded rice fields and mountains, compelling performances and a pensive narrative structure.

Pham Nhue Giang (born in 1957) graduated from the Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema in 1988. Her first work, Escape (1996) and The Deserted Valley have both won awards in Vietnam.

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