What if a country gains victory against its colonizer but still keeps the population under a system of male dominance? According to the Vietnamese women interviewed in the film, that is what happened in post-war Vietnam. Accompanied by songs and testimonies about female identity, family relations, exile, violence and memory, Surname Viet Given Name Nam explores the role of women in Vietnam and the United States. Using a great amount of stock footage, Trinh T. Minh-ha also questions the role of the interview in documentary filmmaking.
Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu is a cultural historian and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Vienna. Linh is currently working on a book entitled “Practices of Togetherness: Jacek Kuroń, Communities of Care and Political Opposition in Poland (1955-1982).” Meanwhile, Linh is also developing a second research project: “Strange but Familiar: The Global Microhistory of Contacts between Poland and Vietnam (1955-1989)”.