Vietnam Enters the Busan International Film Festival with Passionate Thriller “Chi Chi Em Em”

by Matthew Escosia
Chi Chi Em Em SEA Wave (1)
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By: Shaina Semaña


Chi Chi Em Em (international title: Sister Sister) is a drama/thriller film about a late-night radio DJ who offers her house to an eighteen-year-old runaway. The film stars supermodel Thanh Hang as radio DJ Kim, Chi Pu as young runaway Nhi, and Lanh Thanh as Kim’s husband Huy.

The film centers on female homosexuality, with Kim and Nhi developing an attraction to one another as they spend more time together, putting Kim’s relationship with her husband to the test. But everyone has a secret in this household, and some people are willing to go through anything to achieve their hidden motives.

Chi Chi Em Em is the directorial debut of Kathy Uyen, an award-winning Vietnamese-American actress who is now expanding her creative horizons after being involved in previous behind-the-camera work like writing and producing. And it seems like her efforts have paid off, as the film has been met with both commercial and critical acclaim. Despite being rated as a mature movie for viewers 18 years old and above, Chi Chi Em Em hit 71 billion VND (about 3.06 million US dollars) when it was first released in local Vietnamese cinemas in December 2019. It has also been selected by the prestigious Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) to screen on their 25th annual event.

SEA Wave Chi Chi Em Em 1

Director Kathy Uyen gives directions to Thanh Hang and Chi Pu (source)

Chi Chi Em Em is the sole full-length film representing Vietnam in this year’s BIFF, accompanied by the 22-minute short Binh, an independent film directed by Ostin Fam about an alien travelling to Earth on a quest to rebuild his home. Both films are set to be screened throughout the festival in the “A Window on Asian Cinema” section.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of BIFF, but due to the pandemic, the festival is observing safety precautions by cancelling its outdoor activities including opening and closing ceremonies, the red carpet reception, on-stage meets and parties.

The 2020 Busan International Film Festival is set to happen on October 21 to 30, with most of its programs moving online except for the official screenings which will be shown at the Busan Cinema Center. Check out their website to find out more about the upcoming event.


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