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The walls come down on guarded emotions and secrets in an intimate family portrait

One of the most acclaimed short films of 2020, No Crying at the Dinner Table by the Vietnamese Canadian filmmaker Carol Nguyen is a uniquely conceived and powerfully executed family portrait. For the project, Nguyen sat down for one-on-one talks with her sister, mother and father on the topics – including difficult deaths and a lack of intimacy – that so often go undiscussed within families. In the case of the Nguyens family, these silences have been deepened by Vietnamese culture, in which emotional restraint is the norm. Finally, Nguyen played back these recordings for her family at their dinner table – a place where, as the film’s title alludes, her parents told her never to cry. Through this deeply personal work, Nguyen builds a complex and cathartic documentary – poignant, and permeated with a sense of hope.

Director: Carol Nguyen

Producer: Aziz Zoromba

18 May 2021

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