Welcome to a new Gạch Nối, a space where I have chosen to express my appreciation for my fellow Asian American artists, one of the most overlooked groups within our own community. Growing up with an intense passion for music and performing, especially in Vietnam, … Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Christopher Tran | Poetry
In a storm of passion and romance, Carol takes the silver screen through the eyes of a person in love. The 2015 film, directed by Todd Haynes –previously known for 2002 Far From Heaven, the period drama about forbidden love— rides on the familiar waves of infatuation and undeniable connection that comes with being completely in love.
Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, an author more often recognized for her crime thrillers such as The Talented Mr. Ripley, the story follows Therese Belivet, a young woman played by Rooney Mara, who becomes entranced at first sight by a magnificently poised femme fatale (Cate Blanchete). As subsequent events draw them closer and mark their poignant interest for one another, it becomes obvious the significance each has on the other’s happiness. However, the 1950/1960’s setting shows their relationship as a frontier not yet understood and much less legally respected. This poses a problem especially as Carol, our femme fatale, is a just recently divorced mother.
The film’s cinematography is intimate and gothic with a score that matches the subtle suspense and intensity of a budding romance. Rooney Mara, lauded for 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, gives a spectacular performance of a vulnerable, yet open creature trying for her own happiness. With 5 Golden Globe and 6 Oscar nominations, Carol may be the best romance of the year. To be sure, this is not a movie for everyone, as the subject of love between two women is not yet as generally accepted as the typical heterosexual relationships portrayed in Hollywood. Unfortunately, beyond terrific acting, visual and sound direction, a weakness lies in the script for leaving a bit to be desired in immersing the viewer into the realness of the characters. The film is best appreciated when one embraces the simplicity of the connection between the two protagonists.
A high three stars.
A note from Gach Noi:
Traditional theater in Vietnamese culture, such as the operatic ‘Cai Luong,’ showcases tragedies and romantic tragedies full of plots and twists tying in economic and class dynamics to Shakespearean breaks in family relations. Yet the representation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual characters are still taboo in popular literature and we are yet to see “out” role models in the Vietnamese community. As more significant and respected quality media such as Carol are presented and embraced, so will the notion of love between any two people, regardless of gender, be embraced as an inarguable asset to humanity.
**Author’s note: I hope you’ve enjoyed this first movie review. There are many more to come, for a very diverse range of films. This first one is very dear to me, and I hope to continue sharing movies that may mean something more to you! Keep your eye out and happy viewing! (I’d love to hear your input, so comment below for thoughts or requests.)
Watch Carol’s trailer below:
The name “Gạch Nối” was meant to symbolize the bridging of generations. To help build this bridge, we can to listen to, learn from, and tell the stories of our families. What stories have you been told? What was life like for your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles before you were born? While you were too young to remember? Let’s have a conversation.
My parents were born in Cà Mau, what I like to call the San Diego of Vietnam. Their homes laid alongside a calm, clear river. At the front was the bustle of people selling, buying, going to and from school, etc. At the back was the river, where some sold produce from their canoes, and others swam. Still others like my mom, who wasn’t allowed to get too close to the water, watched (or collected seaweed with a stick only to push it back into the river). Of course as nice as that sounds, my parents couldn’t just be children; they had to work. Their families owned businesses. In fact, they were fairly well off, and fairly well respected.
My dad’s family sold candy and other snacks. He told me that when he was little, he would sneak downstairs to eat candy before going to sleep (it was common for people to live upstairs and run businesses downstairs). You can imagine the assortment of snacks he was able to choose from then. Even more, they were all homemade. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
My mom’s family owned two businesses: one that sold fabric, and another that sold incense, “ghost money”, etc. The first time I went to buy fabric with her, she told me how they used to measure and cut the fabric – apparently much more nicely and efficiently. I remember wishing they still sold fabric, because then I would have an array of sewing material at my disposal.
So that’s an introduction to my family. It may not be anything particularly interesting, but it’s an important part of my family history, and a significant part of my bridge. I’m curious about yours. Leave a quick comment or submit your own article. Let us know what you think: should we continue with stories like these? And if yes, will you help us gather them?
We’re gonna show you how to do it properly.
First start out by saying “for the new year, I wish you….”
that would be,
“năm mới, con/em chúc cha/mẹ/bác/dì/etc…”
then pick either one of these two options
“Sức khỏe dồi dào”
“Vạn sự như ý”
“Tấn tài, tấn lộc”/”Phát tài, phát lộc”
“Phước như Đông Hải
Thọ tựa Nam Sơn”
Many people assume it means the Mountain in the Nam country, but actually it is the name of a mountain in China, famous for an abundance of bamboo leaves, which signify longevity. So no, Thọ tựa Nam Sơn does not mean as long-lasting as the Nam country, but rather as a mountain. These two lines go together with the Sea and Mountain acting as a complementary pair of objects. Remember the meanings so that you can impress people in case someone asked if you know what you’re saying. 😉
You should only say this to old people, no less than 60 years. Otherwise you risk offending them.
UCSD’s Gach Noi Magazine is underway for bringing you informative and entertaining news and stories. From the Kardashians to Germany’s handling of refugees, what world news do you want to hear about? We want to hear your requests!