Beautiful Country

Hans Petter Moland’s compellingly shot film tells the story of a young Vietnamese man who sets off on an adventurous odyssey in search of his American father. Binh, who grew up with a foster mother, knows very little about his parents – an old photograph is all he has left of them. Binh is something of an outsider in his village. Finding himself ostracised once again during the annual celebrations of Vietcong victory, he decides to head for Ho Chi Minh City. By chance he comes across a lead as to his mother’s whereabouts. He finds her, working as a housekeeper for a wealthy but unpleasant woman from whom he also obtains work. However, the most he gleans about his father from his mother is: “He came from Texas and had big feet.”
One day, Binh’s female employer dies in an accident and Binh is made responsible for her death. Binh and his little half-brother, Tam, join a group of refugees. They daringly risk the journey in a small open boat over the South China Sea, finally reaching Malaysia after an difficult and exhausting crossing. At the refugee camp, Binh meets a young, worldly-wise Chinese girl named Ling. With Ling’s help, the two brothers steal away from the camp. All three find their way onto a tanker and reach New York as illegal immigrants. In New York, Binh manages to scrape together a living as a cycle courier and Ling earns some money as a karaoke singer. So far, so good. But Texas is still a long way away . . .
by Hans Petter Moland
with Damien Nguyen, Bai Ling, Tim Roth, Nick Nolte
Norway / USA 2003 126’

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