Becoming Alluvium
by Thao Nguyen Phan, Spain, Vietnam 2019, 16'
SCREENPLAY: Thao Nguyen Phan   SHOOTING: Ta Minh Duc
TEXTS TAKEN FROM: fairytales of Laos and Khmer, L’Amant by Marguerite Duras, Le città invisibili by Italo Calvino, The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagore.   PRODUCER: Hilde Teerlink. Produced by: Han Nefkens Foundation
SOUND: Tiikerie Pham    

Schermo dell'Arte - Archivio Film  Presented at Lo schermo dell'arte 2020 

The Mekong River, which crosses six countries and supplies water to numerous fish farms and rice fields in Asia, is the main subject of this short film by Vietnamese artist Thao Nguyen Phan, who was inspired by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film Mekong River. From a close-up on a child’s eyes to a shot of water hyacinths on the banks of the river, Becoming Alluvium is what the artist defines a “moving image”. The film flows between cinematic shots and watercolour animations, punctuated by a narration that mixes everyday reflections with Buddhist fables, such as the princess and the crown of dew. Moments converge in a narrative space with fairytale and dreamlike tones. Phan frames the river from its banks, from above, from its waters; observes its changes, imagines its previous lives and reincarnations, retracing Vietnam’s past and questioning the river’s uncertain future, its cycles altered by climate change and human intervention.

Thao Nguyen Phan (Vietnam 1987, lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City) is a multimedia artist whose practice includes video, painting and installation. Among her exhibitions: Chisenhale Gallery London, Han Nefkens Art Foundation Barcelona, WIELS Brussels, the Lyon Biennial, the Sharjah Biennial. Thao is Rolex Protégée 2016-2017 with mentor Joan Jonas. She is co-founder of the Art Labor collective which develops artistic projects for the benefit of the local community.

Selected Filmography:
Mute Grain, 2019; Tropical Siesta, 2017.


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