You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!

"Bi, Don't Be Afraid!" is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core.

With:
With: Tran Tien, Mai Chau, Nguyen Ha Phong, Nguyen Thi Kieu Trinh, Hoa Thuy, Phan Tranh Minh, Hoang Phuong Thao, Le Huynh Anh, Thac Kim Long, Pham Hoang Ha, Hoang Tuan Anh.

An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism and creepy sex. But while some late dramatic gravitas partially redeems what preceded it, the overuse of water-related motifs and heavyhanded Asian angst plays out like faux Tsai Ming-liang in search of authenticity. Fests won’t be afraid to program this Critics’ Week competitor.

Playful 6-year-old Bi (Phan Tranh Minh) likes to hang out around an ice factory (pic’s strongest setpiece), but otherwise he’s stuck at home with his subservient mom (Nguyen Thi Kieu Trinh), his mostly absentee, alcoholic dad (Nguyen Ha Phong), and an aunt (Hoa Thuy) who fantasizes about her student (Le Huynh Anh) with the help of, uh, an ice cube. If the grandfather’s (Tran Tien) presence somewhat anchors the story, it’s not enough to carry a film that strives too hard for arthouse recognition. Red One lensing provides gritty, neon-lit urban visuals.

Bi, Don't Be Afraid!

Vietnam-France-Germany

Production: An Acrobates Films, Arte France Cinema, Vietnam Media Corp., Vietnam Studio, Vblock Media Joint Stock Co., TR9 Film production. (International sales: Acrobates Films, Paris.) Produced by Claire Lajoumard. Executive producer, Nguyen Diem Huong. Directed, written by Phan Dang Di.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm,), Pham Quang Minh; editor, Julie Beziau; music, Vu Nhat Tan; production designers, Bui Minh Tuan, La Quy Tung, Nghiem Quoc Cuong; costume designer, Nguen Diem Huong. Reviewed at Elysees Lincoln 3, Paris, May 3, 2010. (In Cannes Film Festival -- Critics' Week.) Running time: 95 MIN.

Cast: With: Tran Tien, Mai Chau, Nguyen Ha Phong, Nguyen Thi Kieu Trinh, Hoa Thuy, Phan Tranh Minh, Hoang Phuong Thao, Le Huynh Anh, Thac Kim Long, Pham Hoang Ha, Hoang Tuan Anh.(Vietnamese dialogue)

More Scene

  • Chanel x Tribeca Film Festival Women's

    Chanel's Tribeca Film Fest Luncheon Toasts to Women's Movements in Industry

    An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism […]

  • Doug Davis Power of Law

    Doug Davis Discusses Using Music for a Cause at Variety's Power of Law Event

    An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism […]

  • Ken Ziffren and Claudia EllerVariety Power

    Attorney Ken Ziffren Offers Sobering Take on Film Business at Variety's Power of Law Breakfast

    An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism […]

  • 'The Handmaid's Tale'

    'The Handmaid's Tale' Cast, Creator Talk Season 2 in #MeToo Era, Expanding Gilead

    An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism […]

  • Pamela Adlon Better Things

    Pamela Adlon: When 'Better Things' 'Stops Being Relatable Is When I Stop Doing My Show'

    An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism […]

  • The Future She Built

    Inventor of the Inclusion Rider Discusses Why the Initiative Is Necessary at Panel

    An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism […]

  • Diablo Cody, Charlize Theron and Jason

    'Tully's' Charlize Theron, Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody on Normalizing the Dark Side of Parenting

    An artsy portrait of contempo Vietnamese alienation, “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid!” is blocked by its own cinematic intentions from finding an emotional core. Debuting filmmaker Phan Dang Di’s murky narrative, about a Hanoi family whose disparate lives are darkened by the return of a dying grandfather, dispatches an unsettling mix of symbolic imagery, urban realism […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content