An anecdotal, semi-documentary reflection on the Vietnam War from the point of view of some young Viet Cong conscripts, “Song of the Stork” focuses on the human rather than political element to largely engrossing effect. First feature by Singaporean Chinese helmer Jonathan Foo and Hanoi-born TV and musicvid director Nguyen Phan Quang Binh will be welcomed by festival auds and quality TV buyers.
Recounted by former North Vietnamese army cameraman Tran Van Thuy, film centers on new recruits who arrive at the Xuan Mai Training Camp in summer ’67. Manh is a 16-year-old farmer’s son who lied about his age to enlist; May, from the same village, is a more carefree type. Also in the mix is Hanoi writer Van, who marries his student g.f. during a few days’ leave, and Lam, who becomes a spy below the border. In pic’s most interesting thread, Lam marries a South Vietnamese colonel’s daughter but stays on to welcome Viet Cong troops in Saigon in April ’75 when she and her family flee to the U.S. Tech credits (with color processing done in Bangkok) are tip-top, including a warm, supportive score and some of Tran’s actual B&W footage.