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Indie Short Film 'Saigon Kiss' Is a Quintessential Saigon Queer Love Story

Is there a meet-cute more characteristically Saigon than a motorbike breakdown and subsequent friendly assist from a stranger?

Such is the premise of how Mơ and Vicky, the romantic interests in the indie short film Saigon Kiss, encountered each other amidst this bustling city of 10 million souls. Saigon Kiss is the brainchild of writer and director Nguyễn Hồng Anh, and producers Nguyễn Thị Xuân Trang and Andrew Lee.

Director Nguyễn Hồng Anh (right) on set.

The film chronicles a chance encounter between martial arts instructor Mơ (Nguyễn Vũ Trúc Như) and dancer Vicky (Thương Lê) right on the street of Saigon — hawk-eyed Saigoneers would immediately recognize Thị Nghè Bridge as the venue for this budding romance to bloom. When Vicky’s scooter malfunctions, she is noticed by Mơ and receives the latter’s help to push the bike to a corner repair shop. While waiting for the fix, they get to talking and bonding over their life passions for martial arts and dance.

Nominating bridges as the most romantic venue in Saigon to meet new people.

Edited with a crisp, cozy palette that can pass for a Honda commercial, Saigon Kiss is a quintessential Saigon romance, from the setting, title, to how our queer leads meet. One could also argue that the fact that it’s a same-sex story is also very Saigon, the unofficial queer capital of Vietnam. A “Saigon kiss,” as the production team defines, is a small burn on the inner right calf, typically caused by accidentally bumping into the sizzling exhaust pipe of a motorbike.

Bonding over getting your bike fixed is way better than Tinder.

Saigon Kiss had its international premiere at the 46th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival earlier in the year, where it clinched a Special Mention by the Queer Jury. This month, the short is heading to the BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival in the UK. The team is currently working on a local release in Vietnam.

Nguyễn Vũ Trúc Như plays Mơ and Thương Lê plays Vicky.

“Saigon Kiss is an attempt to take a snapshot of a rapidly changing modern metropolis,” director Hồng Anh writes in the director’s statement. “Like the city, both protagonists, Mơ and Vicky, currently find themselves in a transitional period. Both struggle to find room for themselves to reflect. However, despite the ever-changing landscape and fast pace of this place, they find solace and tenderness in each other's company.”

Watch the short film's trailer below:

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