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Wandering Circus

Followed by a lecture from Việt Lê, moderated by Phuong Phan

Lai Torn (ไหลถอน)
Chantana Tiprachart, Thailand 2020, 9 min. No Dialogue

Wandering Circus (Gánh xiêc rong)
Nguyễn Việt Linh, Vietnam 1988, 87 min. Vietnamese with English subtitles

Wandering Circus tells the story of a wandering circus that once settled in an ethnic minority village in the central highland of Vietnam. Dat, a young boy from the village is fascinated by the troupe’s magic act of transforming rice from empty baskets. Plagued by poverty, Dat wants to learn the magic that he believed to be true to improve the lives of his village people. Later, he bitterly learns that the magic he sought was an illusion. Lai Torn, on the other hand, demonstrates how the locals dedicate their offerings to animist water deity, Naga, a practice shared in Thailand and Laos now facing the crisis of modernization.


Việt Lê is an US-based academic, artist, writer, and curator whose work centers on spiritualities, trauma, representation and sexualities with a focus on Southeast Asia and its diasporas especially in the US.

Wandering Circus (Gánh xiêc rong), Nguyễn Việt Linh, Vietnam 1988