When the Tenth Month Comes (1984)

In Vietnamese post-war film, the resilience of Vietnamese women has become a symbol of women’s empowerment. Many say that the women’s endurance contains extraordinary strength; however, it also becomes a common feature that ascribed to Vietnamese women on the screen. The depiction of Vietnamese women on the public screen is not beautiful, but also ascetic and distress; their strength is compressed in the act of sacrifice, patience, and tolerance. It is not until the period of commercial cinema, which occurred in the mid-2000s, that the depiction of Vietnamese women is transforming into the modern women. In these modern films, women are mentally strong, financially independent, and morally responsible for their choices. Nonetheless, films produced after the war tended to concentrate on the morality of the people within a community, especially in the portrayal of women’s behavior. To emphasize this particular narrative trope, filmmakers have used the collective representation of Vietnamese women to strengthen the nation by placing family values on women. This is best shown in When the Tenth Month Comes, directed and written by Dang Nhat Minh.

When the Tenth Month Comes, produced in 1985, is even less war-related details in the film; the film’s narrative trope primarily concentrated on the main character, Duyen, and her struggle of feeling for the death of her husband. Dang Nhat Minh wrote the script from real-life experience of many Vietnamese families from the pain of losing their fathers, sons, and husbands. These lose became a burden for many Vietnamese women, which is highlighted in his screenplay.

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(The Abandoned Field)                                                                                                                                                             (Contemporary Vietnamese Film Industry)