Asian Cinema Fund 2018
2018 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund
To build a new road, a traditional neighborhood of Hanoi called Pomelo has to be razed to the ground. Private destructors are competing to destroy the houses to collect the iron bars of the structures or whatever they can find in the rubble. Among them are two 40-year-old men from rural provinces of North Vietnam, Huy and Quyen. Working night and day, sleeping in the street, exploited by a greedy boss, despised by the urban population, racketed by local gangsters... their living conditions are hellish. Despite the hardship, they never wallow in self-pity and rather turn their lives into an absurd, dark and bitter comedy. While the narrow lively streets of Pomelo progressively turn into an urban wasteland, Huy and Quyen will cross paths with youngsters from the countryside aspiring to a better future.
20 years ago, my parents bought a house in the neighborhood where this film takes place. Before the destruction started, it was hard to imagine that these lively streets will be soon a vast asphalt stretch. I understood that I had a last chance and few months to film a landscape, an atmosphere and a way of living that was about to disappear. My encounter with the destruction workers and their involvement in the filming process gave a direction and meaning to my work. We decided that our film would not deal only with the transformation of Hanoi’s landscape and way of living. It would also bring to light the invisible people who are making these changes happen, without getting any benefit from it. Making a film about this struggle for life and bringing these stories to both Vietnamese and international audience is crucial for me.