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Renowned Vietnamese-American filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha: 'Surname Viet, Given Name Nam' @ REDCAT

Still from "Surname Viet, Given Name Nam."
November 7, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 8:30pm

Film at REDCAT & The School of Film/Video in collaboration with Intercultural Arts Project Committee (ICAP), The Office of the Provost & The Master of Aesthetics and Politics Program proudly present Trinh T. Minh-ha 3 screenings/presentations, Nov 7, 8 & 9.

REDCAT: Jack H. Skirball Series
$10  [members/students $8, CalArts $5, Film/Video free]

Surname Viet, Given Name Nam

(USA, 108 mins, Betacam, 1989)

Twenty-three years after its premiere, Trinh T. Minh-ha's film remains a post-colonial classic, tackling issues of translation and untranslatability: from a Vietnamese transcript of half-spoken voices recorded at night, to the French publication of these interviews, to their re-translation into English by a native Vietnamese speaker, to the patient efforts of ordinary Vietnamese women to memorize and utter them-then to the lyrics of Vietnamese ballads translated into English subtitles-and finally to Trinh delivering, in English, fragments of oral history, epic poems, and folk sayings about women's role in society. What is lost and what is gained in this multiple-entry process, in this palimpsest of half-erased texts? What is not gained is a "knowledge-about" a certain object: Vietnam. And what is not lost is a certain truth about the bodies of Vietnamese women.

Surname Viet, Given Name Nam has received the Merit Award from the Bombay International Film Festival, the Film as Art Award from the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SF Museum of Modern Art) and the Blue Ribbon Award at the American Film and Video Festival.  Read more

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Trinh T. Minh-ha

Born in Vietnam, Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and composer. She has traveled and lectured extensively-in the States, as well as in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand-on film, art, feminism, and cultural politics. She taught at the National Conservatory of Music in Dakar, Senegal (1977-80); at universities such as Cornell, San Francisco State, Smith, and Harvard, Ochanomizu (Tokyo), Ritsumeikan (Kyoto), Dongguk (Seoul); and is Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.

The recipient of numerous awards and grants (including the "Trailblazers" Award at MIPDOC, Cannes; AFI National Independent Filmmaker Maya Deren Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute, The Japan Foundation, and the California Arts Council), her films have been given over forty two retrospectives in the US, the UK, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Korea, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, and were exhibited at the international contemporary art exhibition Documenta 11 (2002) in Germany. They have shown widely in the States, in Canada, Senegal, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as in Europe and Asia (including in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Japan, India, Taiwan, Jerusalem, etc.

Her works include:


  • Night Passage (98mins, Digital, 2004) (fiction)
  • The Fourth Dimension (87 mins, Digital, 2001)
  • A Tale of Love (108 mins, 1995) (fiction)
  • Shoot for the Contents (102 mins, 1991)
  • Surname Viet Given Name Nam (108 mins, 1989)
  • Naked Spaces - Living is Round (135 mins, 1985)
  • Reassemblage (40 mins, 1982)


  • Elsewhere, Within Here (Routledge 2010)
  • The Digital Film Event (Routledge 2005)
  • Cinema Interval (Routledge 1999)
  • Drawn from African Dwellings (in coll. with Jean-Paul Bourdier, Indiana University Press 1996)
  • Framer Framed (Routledge 1992)
  • When the Moon Waxes Red. Representation, gender and cultural politics (Routledge 1991)
  • Out There: Marginalisation in Contemporary Culture (Co-editor with Cornel West, R. Ferguson & M. Gever. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art and M.I.T. Press, 1990)
  • Woman, Native, Other. Writing postcoloniality and feminism (Indiana University Press 1989)
  • En minuscules (book of poems, Edition Le Méridien 1987)
  • African Spaces - Designs for Living in Upper Volta (in coll. with Jean-Paul Bourdier, Holmes & Meier 1985)
  • Un art sans oeuvre (International Book Publishers, Inc. 1981)


  • Old Land New Waters, Okinawa Fine Arts Museum (opening) November 2007; (exhibition) 2009 and Guangzhou Art Triennial, China (Sept 6 to Nov 16, 2008).
  • L' Autre marche (The Other Walk) In collaboration with Jean Paul Bourdier, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France 9 June 2006 -2009
  • The Desert is Watching (in coll. with Jean-Paul Bourdier, 2003, Kyoto Art Biennale)
  • Nothing But Ways (in coll. with L. M. Kirby, 1999, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco)


  • Poems. Composition for Percussion Ensemble. Premiere by the Univ. of Illinois Percussion Ensemble, Denis Wiziecki, Director. 09 April 1976.
  • Four Pieces for Electronic Music. 1975 Performances at the Univ. of Illinois.

Last edited by dthatt on Nov 05, 2012
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