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Má Sài Gòn film image, woman examining another person's ear

Má Sài Gòn

Mother Saigon

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About halfway through Má Sài Gòn we hear a conversation about how filmmakers always get Vietnam’s LBTQ scene wrong, trading on clichés and caricatures. Vietnamese Canadian filmmaker Khoa Lê took the time to immerse himself in the culture and sees that we do too. The movie unfolds as a series of vignettes, portraits of queer and trans folks forging relationships in a conservative but rapidly evolving society.

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.

VS Wells, Georgia Straight

A dreaminess that recalls the visionary work of Hong Kong moviemaker Wong Kar-wai.

Maurie Alioff, Northern Stars


Khoa Lê

Country of Origin





In Vietnamese with English subtitles


Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director, DOXA Film Festival

100 min

Book Tickets

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Jonathan Bernier, Khoa Lê


Mathieu Laverdière


Isabelle Daveau, Ariane Pétel-Despots, Khoa Lê

Original Music

Marie-Hélène L. Delorme

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