The Vietnamese film Song of the South is based on the novel of the same name by Doan Gioi. It is a tried-and-tested story, as it was made into a television series way back in 1997. It is a beloved and epic tale of a boy named An who goes on an adventure to meet his father. The time period of the film also brings almost insurmountable obstacles for An, as this is a story set when Vietnam was a French colony. An’s father was the leader of the rebel army, trying to fight for the country’s freedom. He lived away from the family, and An’s mother was the one who had to take full responsibility for raising An. The story takes a turn when An and his mother have to escape as the French are going after the rebels and their sympathizers.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
An was the kind of boy who was very intelligent, but he didn’t know the reality of his situation. He had grown up to be a well-read, slightly naughty kid who enjoyed his time at school. But that was a sheltered environment. Vietnam, which was part of the Indochina region under the French at the time, was going through a turbulent time. The rebels were attacking the French army, sadly, many of its soldiers were Vietnamese men. It was a time of distrust and mayhem, and An got plunged straight into a dangerous environment after his mother got killed on their way to meet An’s father.
Why Did Ut Luc Lam Take Care Of An?
Before An’s mother died, Ut Luc Lam, a thief, had already entered An’s life. He was traveling with them in a carriage and had plans to steal An’s mother’s pocket watch. He was using the mayhem to steal off of dead bodies. Lam was a vagabond, traveling from one place to another, looking for opportunities to steal. Lam didn’t seem to be a bad man at heart, but he was too frivolous. The French army had started to shoot those who were trying to save the rebels, and An’s mother died in one such shooting. Before dying, she caught Lam when he was trying to steal her pocket watch. The soldiers were approaching and Lam’s frivolous nature was on display when he asked her to let go of his hand, even promising her that he would take care of An if she let him go. All this happened amidst the heavy gunfire. He didn’t mean to keep the promise, but he did save An from the gunfire, only to abandon him later. He saw An later and noticed that An was incapable of surviving in the wild all by himself, as he couldn’t even find a shelter to protect himself from rain. Thus, Lam decided to help the boy. There were ulterior motives as well. The boy could help in his thievin’ business after all.
How Did An End Up With Tieu?
An had a lot of adventures with Lam, but at the rate they were having them, they were bound to get them into trouble. Lam fed An a rice dish that had alcohol in it. He couldn’t control himself and went into the crowd looking for his father. He had noticed rebels on the bridge where his mother had been shot and knew that rebels communicated in code. He saw the same codes on the day of the Double Fifth festival, and it happened to be the same day the French were making an example out of Vo Tong, a prominent rebel figure, by hanging him in public. Lam followed An, and their mischief resulted in total chaos as An threw a grenade he had stolen, possibly from a soldier. The rebels got a chance to free Vo Tong. There was Tieu in the crowd, who was one of the rebels. He saw An and Lam and figured that he must have something to do with the rebels’ cause, which is why he threw the grenade. He took them under his wing. Lam thought it would be best to escape, as the French officials might let a boy go but would kill an adult man who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Lam wasn’t pro-rebel, but he let An go his own way; he did continue to keep his eye on him as a bond had developed. He had become his real friend, and he did have a promise to keep that he had made to An’s mother. Also, An’s presence had made it easier for him to steal stuff, as people trusted a man more when he was with a boy who looked sophisticated. An spoke a bit of French, which helped Lam seem more aristocratic. But now An was under Tieu’s care, who had figured out that he was Hai Thanh’s kid.
How Did Lam And An Help Tieu?
The commanding officer of the French protectorate was furious over losing Vo Tong. Vo Tong and Hai Thanh were the top rebel leaders being helped by people like Tieu. An had a great time learning fighting skills under Tieu, and he was hopeful he would get to meet his father soon. But nobody knew that this plan was going to fail because there was an undercover agent that had infiltrated Tieu’s place. Tu Mam, a woman who seemed like she liked Tieu, was working for the French officer. She pampered An and Xinh, Tieu’s daughter, to gain Tieu’s trust. Gradually, she too figured out that Tieu was keeping An as a disciple because he was Hai Thanh’s kid. This was huge intelligence, as An could be used to capture Thanh.
Tieu and other rebels had plans to attack a French convoy, but he was arrested because it was a decoy and Tieu had walked right into it. An and Xinh were left to their own resources, thinking Tieu would return soon, but he was in jail. Tu Mam got Xinh to stay with Tieu and waited for Thanh to contact his son, who was now left totally alone. She didn’t know that Lam was there to take care of him. When Tieu was away, Lam met with An again, and together they got Tieu and Xinh out of prison. Thanh did arrive to meet his son covertly during the presentation of a traditional play. The French officials arrived, but the rebels were waiting for them. The official was killed, and Tu Mam did her best to kill Lam, Tieu, and An, but she was killed in the counterattack.
During Song of the South‘s ending, Lam survived Tu Mam’s bullet because it hit the pocket watch, which was An’s mother’s keepsake meant for Thanh. Tieu took his daughter and everyone else away into the jungles, where Vo Tong and Thanh had been hiding. An’s journey is not over yet, because he did meet his father, but their time together was cut short by the French attack. An was hopeful that he would see his father soon, and the movie promises another part where An’s journey will be continued.