Thanh, Hoang and Phuong are three men born in the early 1960s. Since they were born, their fates seem to have slipped out of their hands. Not only were they born in the bloodiest time in Vietnam, but they were also born in the geographical center of the war, boundary of North and South Vietnam, the Province of Quang Tri. Almost 41 years after the war ended, explosions continue to echo throughout Quang Tri. The province, considered one of the most heavily bombed lands in the history of warfare, is left with tons of undetonated bombs under its soil and with widows, orphans and people physically disabled even until a generation after. But also, the province is left with men like Thanh, Hoang and Phuong, whose bodies are whole, whose minds are sane, but whose spirits seem to have been trapped in the past. All three men have tried to build and rebuild their lives many times. Every other day, they get together in Thanh’s dimly lit house, speak and sing about the past, their lost loves and their coming deaths.
Growing up in a country where pages after pages of its history are written by blood from civil wars and international conflict, an existential question has grown in my mind. Would we, as human beings, ever have total freedom to decide on our own will how we would exist? Would the destiny of each one depend on his own decision and not in other people’s hands? Having known the differences among the histories of countries, I’ve come to realize that our lives are preconditioned according to specific circumstances. Whether or not individuals would have the choice and power to surpass his precondition in order to pursue the life he wants, the way he desires to exist, is so much an unknown quest I’ve been trying to answer.