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[Video] Short Film 'Sigh Gone' Depicts Love Lost, With a Twist

Have you ever felt completely at sea, hopelessly lost? A new Saigon-set short video from Vietnamese-American director Jeannie Nguyen depicts a day in the life of a young woman facing this situation.

The main character goes on a wild goose chase across places in Saigon.

Nguyen, who directed and co-wrote the well-received First Generation last year, has now released Sigh Gone, or Thở dài đi rồi in Vietnamese. The video was named a Vimeo Staff Pick after its release.

The short film features one main character, a young woman, and plenty of on-location shots from around town: motorbike traffic, a woman butchering meat, a shop selling caged birds and a phở restaurant.

The soundtrack ranges from classic Vietnamese rock to more traditional forms of music, and make sure you stay tuned for the twist at the end ̣(spoilers ahead!).

Video via Vimeo user Jeannie Nguyen.

In an email, Nguyen explained that she was inspired to make the video when she lost her phone and ended up having to write directions down on paper.

"I always had a fixation with how attached people are with their devices, so making a film about it came naturally," she shared. "I thought it would be a nice twist to make it seem like it was about something it's not in order to get people thinking about their relationship with their phones."

Nguyen then conducted photo research about Saigon in order to set the right tone, and she and her team connected with a local production company called BLAZE, as she had never shot in Vietnam before. The shoot took two busy days, followed by a month of heavy editing, and then a few months of minor tweaks to get it down to the nearly 10-minute run time.

A scene in Hao Si Phuong, an old Chinese community in District 5.

The director added that the reception for Sigh Gone has been upbeat. "I was afraid that it might've been 'too slow' in the beginning to capture viewers' attention," Nguyen said. The first three minutes depict the main character in a despondent state in her apartment before moving outdoors, where the action picks up.

"To my surprise," Nguyen went on, "I got a lot of positive response on the melancholic vibe. I'm glad people got it. My mom doesn't get it, but that's ok." The director is now writing a feature-length screenplay set in Vietnam, in addition to working on an episodic work based on one of her short films.

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