Don’t miss the theatrical premiere of the winner of the 2007 SFIAAFF’s Best Narrative Feature Award. Gauger’s debut feature is a beautifully crafted story of a young girl living on the streets of Saigon who plays matchmaker to two lonely souls. More than a love story, OWL is a thoughtful portrait of contemporary Vietnam. The San Francisco Film Society will screen OWL AND THE SPARROW from February 13 – 19.
While the film’s central narrative mirrors that of many a Hollywood love story—a young child strives to forge a romantic relationship between two lonely adults—the characters and their circumstances add up to much more: a thoughtful portrait of contemporary Vietnam. Thuy, a young orphan who lives with her demanding uncle, runs away from her rural home for the streets of Saigon, where she meets Lan, a flight attendant in a doomed affair with a married man, and Hai, a zoo employee who—after being jilted by his fiancée—has little contact with anyone except for his beloved elephants. When she’s not hitting the streets trying to persuade tourists to buy roses, Thuy evades officers who round up derelict children for the local orphanages and balances her time between her two new friends. Constantly scolded for “asking too many questions,” Thuy learns of Lan’s and Hai’s personal lives and sets out to unite them, despite their class differences.
Gauger’s film, full of rich, compelling, compassionate characters, does not shy away from romance; it’s most remarkable, however, for its peek at the children who populate Saigon’s streets. Though supposedly alone, they form a network that thrives on mutual support and respect.
Written by Stephane Gauger. Photographed by Stephane Gauger.
With Cat Ly, Le The Lu, Pham Thi Han. (97 min, Annam Pictures)
February 13–19, Sundance Kabuki Cinemas