ACF Asian Cinema Fund

Asian Network of Documentary(AND) Fund

2018 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

LIST Pomelo (aka. The Ring Road)
Category BNK Busan Bank Fund
Project Pomelo (aka. The Ring Road)
Director Phuong Thao TRAN
Country Vietnam
Director's Profile Tran Phuong Thao (born in 1977 in Hanoi, Vietnam) moved to France in 2000 to complete her dream of being a documentary filmmaker. After graduating in Political Science in Paris, she studied documentary film technics and writing in Poitiers University. Back in Vietnam, she directed?Workers’ Dreams (2006) which was screened in many international festivals and was awarded at Cinema du Reel 2007 (P. Perrault Award). Since 2011, she directed several documentary films in collaboration with Swann Dubus including With or Without Me (White Goose Award - DMZ Docs 2012) and Finding Phong (Grand Prix Nanook - Jean Rouch IFF 2016, Paris).
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.
Director's Note
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.
2018 DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
2019 DOXA Documentary Film Festival
2023 Cinema du reel
Still Cut