A Vietnamese film set in 1990s Saigon is in line to win a major international film award.

Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories is the story of Vu, a photography student, who falls in love with his roommate, Thang, a small-time drug dealer.

But while Vu is coming to terms with being gay, in an era where there was not yet widespread acceptance of homosexuality as there is now, Vu’s father Sau has chosen a wife for his son: Huong. Sau tries to use Huong to separate Vu and Thang. But Huong is secretly in love with Sau. As the synopsis concludes, the film is all about “stormy stories of desire and forbidden fruits”.

Small father, big father & other stories 2

Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories has its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 13. But most significantly, it has made the final shortlist for the Golden Bear and Silver Bears of the 2015 Berlinale Competition. The winners will be chosen by an international jury whose members include popular French actress Audrey Tautou.

The film was directed by Di Phan Dang who describes his characters as “so stubborn”.

Small father, big father & other stories 1

“They don’t follow my lead, they act as if they were living in real life: unusually, meaninglessly, instinctively. Their thoughts may come after action. Their sadness may come later than the separation… I can watch them, but I cannot judge them.

“I may know whether they are happy or sad, but I cannot measure such feelings, as my characters were living before the film began and will continue to do so once the film has ended.

“So all I can say is that everything you see in the film depicts just one particular moment in their lives.”

Small father, big father and other stories

Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories stars Do Thi Hai Yen, Nguyen Ha Phong, Le Cong Hoang, Truong The Vinh, Mai Quoc Viet, Le Van Hoang, Nguyen Thi Kieu Trinh, Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc, Nguyen Thien Tu and Chau The Tam.  

It was produced by VBlock Media (Vietnam), Acrobates Films (France), Busse & Halberschmidt Filmproduktion oHG (Germany) and Volya Films (The Netherlands).

It is not yet clear when the film will screen in Vietnam.