VẮNG BÓNG – The Absence of Shadow

90 Minutes, HD, Germany, 2012


On the night of April 17, 1967, Thanh Nguyen’s life was to change in a drastic way. The then 8-year-old boy was injured as the result of an air raid during the Vietnam War and over the next few years gradually lost his eyesight. By the age of 19, he was completely blind. Chinh, a young woman from a neighboring village, fell in love with the blind Thanh and married him against the wishes of her family. Their life together began in bitter poverty. Later, when his wife fell ill and could no longer put food on the table for their four children, Thanh decided to become a beggar. Their eldest daughter, Loan, guided her blind father through the land. She was just nine years old. The time they spent living on the streets changed them both. After two years, they returned home and began to write about their experiences. Thanh was able to overcome his own darkness; today he is a writer. Yet his blindness and the trauma of the war still hang like a shadow over the family.