Expired October 31, 2021 6:55 AM
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Ngo Do Duc's short film, Trading Happiness, is his graduation film from the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg in Potsdam, Germany. The film portrays a proposed arranged marriage in rural Vietnam. The story opens with Nghi (Quỳnh Như), a Vietnamese mother, worried about daughter Phuong's (Trần Thiện Tứ) marriage to a Chinese businessman. This arranged marriage has been organized by a matchmaker and will, if it goes through, relieve the family’s debts. However, Phuong's sudden disappearance at her wedding throws all of these plans into chaos. Will Nghi choose debt relief or her daughter's true happiness? Does Phuong have the power to control her destiny?

The narrative of Trading Happiness is a direct result of the legacy of China's one-child policy. That nation’s artificial restriction of births and its culture’s historical favoring of boys over girls has resulted in a severe gender imbalance, which has fueled an informal economy of arranged marriages between Chinese husbands and non-Chinese brides. The film's gloomy chiaroscuro fosters a murky atmosphere that reflects the ethical quandary that daughter and mother have to confront, as well as symbolizing the uncertain futures of both – a future dependent on the wills of men. For Trading Happiness, Ngo Ngoc Duc and his crew won various awards at German film festivals including Filmfest Dresden's Golden Rider of the Youth Jury Award and Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis's Audience Award (Saarbrücken).

  • Year
  • Runtime
    25 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    Vietnam, Germany
  • Director
    Duc Ngo Ngoc
  • Screenwriter
    Florina-Alice Biro
  • Producer
    Pia To
  • Cast
    Nhu Quynh, Thiem Tu Tran
  • Cinematographer
    Meret Madorin
  • Editor
    Laura Espinel, Katja Nguyen Thanh
  • Composer
    Fraziska May, Johann Niegl