Last night, I rented the film Catfish; an unassuming, independent film that I think all Facebook fans should see. While I found myself annoyed at the precociousness of the actors, I watched it to the end. The film is directed, acted and produced by a team of brothers from New York. One brother starts a online relationship with a women from Michigan. They eventually meet up and the movie turns into a psychological, disappointing, predictable but interesting happening. A very well crafted and intelligent film, the ending is what grabbed me. The star of the film is the almost retarded husband giving the film the powerful message that wrapped up the movie into a fable of sorts. The film turned out to be sad, sweet, corny but redemptive.
Above, is a performance that we saw on our way back from the Bac Ha market; close to the China border, located in the far northwest of Vietnam, we stepped into this temple ceremony. I cannot say what is going on except that it was a delightful entourage of regulars and gawking tourists while this dancer enchanted us. The interior was filled with incense and it made me think of an opium den which was at one time a huge market for the hill tribe peoples until the Communists took over.
Above, are the water puppets, formally called roi nuoc and we saw this performance at the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi. This is a thousand year ancient art form and it takes the puppeteers three years to train for this craft. You can see the puppeteers standing behind the bamboo fence as he stands in waist level water and operates the puppets from long poles. Many of these skills are kept secret and passed down from family generations. This art form was created by the rice farmers and because of the heavy rains, they started using the water as a dynamic stage. In the video, you can see the band accompanying the performances. Several of the vignettes are about pastoral traditions and legendary folklore.