Film Series


SEASSI offers a weekly Southeast Asian film series throughout the program. The film series is intended to familiariaze students with the languages of Southeast Asia through cinema work. After each film, a short discussion allows students, and others, to engage various issues presented in the films.

2007 Film Series: In Their Memory, In Their Tears

“For perhaps there is something of the noble even in life taken by itself, unless, in the way it is lived, the hardships are overly excessive.” (Aristotle)

How do people deal with the past? Whether it is fancy or not, it surely affects present life in the form of memory, lesson or more broadly in the collective form of culture. Following four films show how painful history of life changed ordinary people’s lives. Flash back to the past does not only enables people to justify the present but also enables to gain a strength and hope.

Films will be shown every Tuesday night at 7:00pm in 206 Ingraham Hall, unless otherwise noted. Short discussion will follow each film presentation.

June 19 - Crying Ladies (2003)
Director: Mark Meily
Language: Tagalog with English Subtitle
Run time: 110 minutes

A hit in the Philippines, where it won six awards at the 2003 Manila Metro Film Festival, Mark Meily's ''Crying Ladies'' is a loose and genial soap opera about three working-class Manila women who are hired as mourners for a funeral in the city's Chinese community. Stella, a second-generation crier, recruits two of her friends: Choleng (Angel Aquino), a pious Roman Catholic who is nonetheless having a guilty affair with another woman's husband, and Aling (Hilda Koronel), a shopkeeper who clings to the fading memory of her movie career, whose high point was a bit part in a picture called ''Darna and the Giants.''

June 26 - Berbagi Suami (Sharing husbands, 2006)
Director: Nia Di Nata
Language: Indonesian with English Subtitle
Run time: 120 minutes

Set in Jakarta. Addresses the controversial practice of polygamny and its malcontents by interweaving the stories of three very different women. Salma, a gynecologist, is married to a successful television host who takes a second, and then a third wife. Initially crushed by this discovery, Salma decides to accept her lot as a good Muslim wife, but when her husband falls ill, she is forced to confront his other wives and the absurd reality of her situation. Siti, a small-town girl, understands too late the real intentions of her "uncle," who brought her to Jakarta with the promise of putting her through beauty school. An unexpected and intimate bond with one of her uncle's two wives, however, emboldens her to pursue her freedom. Finally, Ming is the prettiest waitress at a popular roast duck stall, where she carries on a surreptitious romance and eventually becomes the second wife of the stall's chef. Unaware of one another's stories, these three women cross paths as they contend with the trials and injustices of polygamy.

July 3 - Un Soir Après La Guerre (One Night After the War, 1998)
Director: Rithy Panh
Language: Khmer with English Subtitle
Run time: 108 minutes

Rithy Panh directed this neo-realist French-Cambodian social drama set amid Southeast Asian poverty. In the early '90s, soldiers return to civilian life in Phnom Penh. Living with his uncle, kickboxer Savannah (Narith Roeun) begins a romance with 19-year-old bar girl Srey Poeuv (Chea Lyda Chan), who is trapped by her debts to the bar's owner. Savannah makes the mistake of teaming with an ex-soldier pal for a crime that he hopes will raise money to clear Srey's debt.

July 10 - Luang Phii Theng (The Holy Man, 2005)
Director: Note Cherm-Yim
Language: Thai with English Subtitle
Run time: 107 minutes

Luang Phii Teng (The Holy Man) is one of the top films at the Thai box office 2005. It starred popular Thai television comedian, Pongsak Pongsuwan as a Buddhist monk. A monk comes to a small city and takes up residence at a small Buddhist temple. With his no-nonsense advice and humble ways, a new monk builds a following that starts to rival a flashy scam temple across town, making an enemy of its operator.


July 17 – Kuv Leej Niam (Lost Love, 2004)
Director: Moua Lee
Language: Hmong with English Subtitle

“Kuv Leej Niam” is a story about the life of an orphaned young woman named Gao Sheng. She is thrown from her aunt and uncle’s house after they find out she is pregnant with the child of a wealthy village leader’s son. She is forced to move away to another town, but is confronted again by the wealthy family ten years later when their new daughter-in-law can’t bear a child for their family. They come to take away Gao Sheng’s child, Cheng, who is now about ten years old, because he is the only heir to the family. The second half of the movie is the adult Cheng’s journey in search for his mother and in the process of doing so, he finds himself and falls in love.

* Talk with the Director, Moua Lee will follow the film showing.
Films will be shown Tuesday night at 6:00pm in 206 Ingraham Hall. Discussion with the director, Moua Lee will follow the film presentation. Dr. Mai Na Lee will moderate the discussion.

July 24 Mystery of Snow (2006)
Director: Sin Yaw Mg Mg
Language: Burmese with English Subtitle
Run Time: 132 minutes

A story of young man named Okkar who investigates his late father’s mysterious death in the ice mountain in the Chin State. Three years after his father’s death, Okkar began to question his late father’s death and thus embarked a journey to the mountain to find the secret of his father’s death as well as his body. His journey outside of Yangon turns out to be a journey to learn about other side of his life, as well as his fathers. The film won the Best film award in Burmese Academy award and several other international film festivals.

July 31 The Leaf, Not Yet Falling (2002) + Lao Long (Lost Laotions, 2006)
Director: Vilaihong + Vannasone Keodara
Language: Lao with English Subtitle
Run Time: 32 + 46 minutes


The Leaf, Not Yet Falling (by Vannasone Keodara): Documentary film of childhood memories of Laos, the filmmaker's homeland, and her struggles to adopt to a new culture in her exile. The filmmaker narrates her feelings attached to bitter sweet memories about past and present Laos.

Lao Long (by Vilaihong): This film looks at the "Lost Laotians" that have lived in Burma for the past 200 years and how they have strived to retain their culture and languages. After short introduction of histories, the film includes interviews of individuals in the border village of lost laotions.

August 7 The Journey of Vaan Nguyen (2005)
Director: Duki Dror
Language: Vietnamese with English Subtitle
Run Time: 82 minutes

Vaan Nguyen’s story is the result of one of those quirks of history that trumps fiction. Her parents were Vietnamese refugees who fled the country after the fall of Saigon, and in 1979 were among a group of 200 “boat people” granted permanent refuge in Israel. Hanmoi Nguyen desires to return to his village, reclaim his ancestral land and confront the man who forced him to flee. His daughter Vaan has grown up in Israel, speaking Hebrew and living as an Israeli – and yet she is alienated from Israeli society and resents being treated as a cultural curio. When the opportunity arises for her to travel back to Vietnam with her father in an attempt to determine the fate of some land that used to belong to his family, Vaan jumps at the chance. She bids a less-than-fond farewell and sets off with her father, hoping to find a new life – and a sense of belonging – in a land she barely knows.


- SEASSI 2006 Film Series
- SEASSI 2005 Film Series


Click on image to enlarge
Other SEASSI Photos

Contact Us!
Please direct any questions to the SEASSI Program Coordinator:

Jinda Moore
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
207 Ingraham Hall
1155 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
phone: (608) 263-1755 email: