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American Experiece: Daughter From Danang [VHS]

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Mai Thi Kim, Heidi Neville-Bub, Gerald Ford, Tom Miller, Tran Tuong Nhu
  • Directors: Vicente Franco, Gail Dolgin
  • Producers: Gail Dolgin, Sunshine Ludder
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English, Vietnamese
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • VHS Release Date: April 8, 2003
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008WI7E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,593 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A mix of epic history and intimate family portrait, Daughter from Danang follows the reunion of a Tennessee woman, Heidi, with her Vietnamese mother and siblings after 22 years. Shipped to the U.S. in the waning days of the Vietnam war, Heidi--formerly Mai Thi Hiep--was the daughter of a white American soldier and a Danang woman abandoned by her Viet Cong husband. Fearing reprisals against Amerasian children, Hiep's mother, despite unbearable pain, gave Hiep to an adoption agency. Raised by an abusive woman in Pulaski (birthplace of the KKK), Hiep/Heidi kept her full heritage secret. This episode of PBS's American Experience follows Heidi's journey home: There is sorrow, joy, and relief, of course, but also a slow-brewing uneasiness as cultures collide. As raw expectations of her impoverished, Third World family begin to grate on Heidi, the burden of carrying two national destinies becomes comically and tragically oversized in the poor woman's shoes. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This documentry reveals a common knowlege about the vietnamese culture, something that i was raised with, being a first generation vietnamese immigrant. vietnamese children are expected to care for thier parents, its a way of life for most asian cultures living the traditional life style. you care for your parents when they are no longer able to work and manage the household, you repay your respects by taking on the family burdens and financial needs. However this film brings an interesting perspective when the daughter is american raised, with american values, and has been seperated from her traditional vietnamese family since she was 5 or 7 years old. its 20 years since her serperation and she's finally reunited with her biological monther and other family memebers. She's abrubtly expected to carry on all the burdens expected by this traditional family.

When my family and I watched this movie, dispite the fact that we come from the same background as the traditional vietnamese family, we completely sympathize with the estranged daughter, feeling who's offended and overwhelmed with her family's bombarding expectactions and rude approaches. This film does an excellent job of documenting an american reaction to the vientamese culture.

I only gave it 4 of 5 stars because its still missing the followup to this reunion.
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Format: DVD
Heidi Bub is a young American woman who decides to return to Vietnam to meet with her birth mother, Mai Thi Kim, who gave her up for adoption when Heidi was age 7. Heidi was adopted by a cold hearted American woman who told Heidi she was "no longer my daughter" when Heidi came home late from a date. So clearly Heidi is someone with ample reasons to have emotional issues, especially a sense of abandonment.

This provides the context for an intercultural mother-daughter reunion that Heidi is completely unprepared for. It's obvious that Heidi experiences severe cultural shock upon her arrival in Vietnam. She also can't deal with what she perceives as her mother's clinging behavior. Heidi says this makes her feel like she is the mother rather than the daughter. It's obvious that her romantic vision of finally having a mother who would take care of and protect her is hopelessly naive.

Heidi's final and most intense breakdown occurs when her Vietnamese family makes a very direct request for her to support her mother with a monthly financial stipend. My wife is originally from Ecuador, a country that, like Vietnam, places more emphasis on family obligations and taking care of your elders than the individualistic and youth oriented United States. So she felt a strong emotional connection to the Vietnamese family and become intensely upset with Heidi for what she perceived to be Heidi's extreme greediness and selfishness. I, on the other hand, did feel some sympathy for Heidi's circumstances. She was in a totally diiferent culture with people she hardly knew. She clearly was confused and felt that perhaps her birth mother was only looking for financial assistance rather than love. Heidi was, quite possibly, wrong about her mother's intentions.
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Format: VHS Tape
I totally love this movie. Being Vietnamese myself, I understand the way Vietnamese people think (ie. helping family out no matter what). However, I came to the US when I was young just like Heide; therefore, I understand the way she feels. In this movie, Heidi, a mixed child, who came to the US when she was about 7 through an orphanage agency, wanted to find out about her past. She began her journey to find the past with the hope that she could start a relationship with her Vietnamese family. When she went back to VN, she was ready to embrace the love that she has been longing for since she couldn't get it from her adopted mom. You have to understand that Heidi is very Americanized. Besides, she doesn't remember much about her Vietnamese family either. Therefore, when she got to VN and found out that everyone wanted money from her and expected her to help them out, she was shocked. Vietnamese people who still live in VN always want and expect their abroad relatives to help them out. Sometimes, those people don't understand that people abroad don't have a lot of money. You can see in the movie that her biological mom keeps saying that "I come to America with you, ok?" That can say a lot about the mom too. Instead of just let things go easy, everyone bombarded her with things that she would never experience before (sending money home every month to help the mom and siblings, bringing the mom to the US). I don't want to spoil the rest of the movie. So, I am going to cut this short. You should see this movie. I definitely recommend it.
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Format: DVD
The movie was certainly thought provoking. It touches on issues such as cultural misunderstandings, abandonment, imperialism, and war.

It was easy to hate Heidi at first. She came off as an ignorant "ugly American". But the more I thought about it, I realized that she was much more complicated than that. She wasn't an infant who started her new life with a clean slate. She was SEVEN years old! That is more than old enough to have memories of her old life which must have made the abandonment and subsequent adoption even more traumatizing for her. Add the unloving adopted mother who didn't teach her anything about her culture and you have a young woman who's culturally ignorant and desperate to find a loving mother to take care of her like a little girl. I can see why the family's request was overwhelming for her.

I think the film exploited Heidi though. I think the film makers were so excited about having a "good story" that they were careless in preparing Heidi for the trip. The translator should have prepared Heidi and taught her more about the Vietnamese culture.

Does anyone have any updates on what happened to Ms. Bub? I wonder if she ever re-opened that door.
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