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Song Lang

Vietnam 2018
produced by
Veronica Ngo (= Ngo Thanh Van), Irene Trinh, Pham Thanh Hai (executive), Nguyen Nu Nhu Khue (executive), Nguyen Thu Thuy (executive), Vo Thi Hong Van (executive), Pham Phuong Dung (executive), Amy Tran Nitao (executive)
directed by Leon Le
starring Isaac, Lien Binh Phat, Minh Phuong, Tu Quyen, Huynh Ngoc Lan, Le Thi, Thach Kim Long, Cat Vy, Bao Xuyen, Nguyen Bao Chau, Nguyen Thi Kieu Trinh (as Kieu Trinh), Huu Quoc, Thanh Tu, Phuoc Tinh, Ron Vuong, Xuan Truong, Kim Phuong, Doan Minh Tuan, Hoang Sang, Hong Sap, Kim Chi
written by Leon Le, Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, music by Ton That An

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Saigon, the 1980s: Dung (Lien Binh Phat) is a debt collector for crime queen bee Auntie Nga (Minh Phuong), and he's one of the toughest in the business and mighty proud of it. Phung (Isaac) is a performer with a Vietnamese opera troupe who has only recently been promoted to leading man status - for his youthful good looks mostly as his peers tell him his singing and acting lack real emotion one can only achieve from experiences he just hadn't yet had. Their passes cross when Dung comes to collect money from the theatre Phung is about to have his premiere at, and when the owner can't pay, he threatens to burn the costumes and can only just be talked out of it. However, something about the theatre clicks with Dung as his father has been an opera performer himself, and the same night he comes back just to watch the premiere - and when he then meets Phung backstage, the meeting is nothing short of awkward. However, Phung pays his debt to Auntie Nga the next day, and his and Dung's paths cross again later when he's beaten into unconsciousness by a gang of thugs before Dung can interfere and repay the thugs in kind, then drag Phung back to his place to wait for him to come to again. And when Phung does, the situation quickly gets awkward again, until Dung can convince him he means no harm. And since Phung seems to have lost his keys in the schuffle earlier, Dung even offers him a place to crash. And over the night, the men grow closer and closer to one another, also when Phung learns more and more about Dung's caring side. And Phung also leaves his mark on Dung, to an extent that he wants to give up his debt collector. It really seems that this might develop into more than a friendship even - but sometimes, fate deals a cruel hand ...


A very nice melodrama that blends elements of gangster thriller, social drama, character study, love story, journey to self discovery and Vietnamese opera, and the outcome is something very unique, a compelling film that wears its heart on its sleeve but always manages to avoid the trappings of pure kitsch by always putting storytelling above grand but empty emotions, while packing everything into a cinematically accomplished whole that hits all the right notes, making this a joy to watch.


... and if this has at all gotten you interesting, you can catch the movie at Laemmle Virtual Cinema until November 12th 2020:


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD