DOXA 2023: Má Sài Gòn review
May 6, 5:15pm, the Cinematheque
Stripping away the conventional trappings of a documentary—the talking heads, the chyrons, the narration—director Khoa Lê’s lyrical journey through what’s now known as Ho Chi Minh City paints a portrait of the myriad ways queer and trans love blooms.
A trans woman with flowers in her hair talks of her dawn dates with a new beau; a bickering lesbian couple call each other Mommy and Daddy; a surrogate mother to a house of queer and trans young adults chides her many garment-makers into opening savings accounts. The long conversations into inhabitants’ lives are interspersed with colourful poetry, melodies and music to create a rich, shimmering tapestry.
Through it all is the question of what family means to LGBTQ+ people in Saigon, be it their relationships to their parents, their chosen families, or to their own potential children. The city itself is a loving, lonely mother: here are her offspring, in all their raw reality.
Find the Straight's full DOXA 2023 guide here.