Screening Eco-trauma in the Context of Post-socialism: “The Great Flood” and Local Identity Crisis in Chinese and Vietnamese Independent Films (the Cases of Taking Father Home and 2030)




eco-trauma, independent cinema, local identity, eco-aesthetics, The Great Flood, post-socialism.


As two of the few socialist countries in the Global South today that share a deep root of Confucianism and have had intense contact with capitalism in the last two decades, Vietnam and China have many cultural, ideological, and political similarities. Significantly, China and Vietnam have a similarly long tradition of water control and pride in managing the power of rivers and water, as evidenced in mythological, fairy tales, and historical books. The Yangtze and the Mekong are the two largest rivers that profoundly influence and impact their respective cultural, spiritual, economic, and social lives. Since the 1990s, with the construction of the Three Gorges Dam and industrial plants next to the Yangtze and the mangrove deforestation next to the Mekong, in the context of Post-socialism, these two river deltas have faced unprecedented severe environmental challenges. On the other hand, the images of the two rivers and two river deltas appearing in official state-funded and commercial films are isolated from the actual situations mentioned. By examining two typical independent movies from China and Vietnam about the Great Flood, Taking Father Home (2005, Ying Liang) and 2030 (2014, Nguyen Vo Nghiem Minh), this essay highlights the eco-awareness of those affected, especially the sense of eco-trauma, related to the natural disasters in the Yangtze and Mekong deltas. This essay will in particular analyze how the globalization process in these two socialist countries causes multi-level harm in localities, both culturally and environmentally. Moreover, drawing from the concepts of indigenous cinema, we will highlight the aesthetic ability of independent films to question the limitations of commercial and state-sponsored movies, which always romanticize native natural landscapes on-screen and produce eco-ambiguity among the public.


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How to Cite

Giang, H. C. (2023). Screening Eco-trauma in the Context of Post-socialism: “The Great Flood” and Local Identity Crisis in Chinese and Vietnamese Independent Films (the Cases of Taking Father Home and 2030). Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 11(21), 70–84.