The White Silk Dress (2006)

Drama | 13 October 2006

The White Silk Dress (Áo Lụa Hà Đông). It was directed by a Vietnamese American director, Luu Huynh in 2006. The plot was set in Northern Vietnam province, Ha Dong in 1954 when the French colonial rule in Vietnam began to crumble. The story emphasizes the importance of a white silk dress, áo dài – a symbol of Vietnamese feminism.

Dần, the main female character in the film, had to breast-feed a 70 years old man so she could earn enough money to buy a white silk dress for two of her daughters that required to attend school. The film has great contribution to the strength and love of the Vietnamese women through the symbol of a white silk dress. Before the last scene, the second daughter is holding áo dài that her mother had sewn for her, and running to escape the bombing that was happening in her village. This scene was shot in black and white to emphasize the purity of Vietnamese áo dài that ties to the virtue of Vietnamese women. Director Huynh Luu has captured a story of a lower-class family, the sacrifice of a mother, to illustrate the spirit of a country and of a nation determined to keep their tradition alive.

The beauty of women is highlighted in this film so demonstrate the women’s strength during the wartime period. It has become a common feature that women become the representation of the strength of the nation when a crisis is presented. The depiction of Vietnamese women is tied with the tradition white silky dress, áo dài, which becomes a distinctive symbol for Vietnamese women. It illuminates the feminism of a traditional woman, but who shows strength and resilience, who would willing to do what must be done to protect and provide for her family.

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(Contemporary Vietnamese Film Industry)                                                                                                                                                       (The Rebel)