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How to Behave (Chuyen Tu Te)

A Film by Tran van Thuy

Originally banned in Vietnam, this documentary was released only after the intervention of Communist Party leader Nguyen van Linh. HOW TO BEHAVE then became a smash hit, seen by millions of Vietnamese, turning into a cornerstone of that country's new glasnost.

Dying of cancer, the cameraman Dong Xuan Thuyet asks his friends to make a film on the subject of "tu-te" - human relations, fraternity or, simply, kindness. Thus charged, the filmmakers explore the realities behind the nationalistic slogans to reveal troubling scenes of Vietnamese life in a society which, although not without hope, seems no longer able to define humanitarianism - or greed for that matter.

"An important historical document... That the film was made at all shows how much government control over the arts loosened after 'doi moi.'... A fascinating glimpse into Vietnamese society at the start of economic and social change." - Hue-Tam Ho Tai, American Historical Review

"A powerfully understated film... leaving searing images." - New York Times

"A revealing, understated profile... valuable to outsiders for its insight into modern Vietnam, invaluable to the Vietnamese for its framing of moral issues." - Landers Film & Video Reviews

"An interesting meditation and surprisingly critical work from a country whose films seldom reach the U.S... For all audiences above the high school level." - Choice

"A film to launch discussions." - Asian Studies Newsletter

** 1992 Images Film Festival, Toronto
** Silver Dove Winner, Leipzig Film Festival

43 minutes / color / 1987
Sale/video: $375
Rental/video: $75


Subject areas: Asia, History (World), Sociology, Vietnam

Related Titles:

Gao Rang (Grilled Rice): The story of the North Vietnamese combat cameramen who filmed the Indo-Chinese & Vietnam Wars, and founded Vietnamese cinema.

Vietnam: The Last Battle: The new invasion of Vietnam - by multi-national corporations.

Wandering Souls: Thirty years after the end of the war against the United States, two Vietnamese veterans continue to search for the remains of their dead comrades.

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Last updated 09/01/2006