The Story of Vinh

Genre: Documentary
Ethnicity: Vietnamese American
Themes: Identity/Representation, Immigrant/Refugee Experience/Diaspora,
Individual Profiles & Personal Stories
, Labor & Class Issues, Youth (Youth Crime)
Date: 1990
Running Time: 60 min.
Director/Producer: Keiko Tsuno
Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA)
College/Institution: $175 Purchase/$50 Rental
K-12/Public Library/Community Group: $99 Purchase/$30 Rental

Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV)
87 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10013
$325 Purchase/$75 Rental
$40 home video

When U.S. military forces withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, a long legacy of war, violence, and death was not all they left behind.  Thousands of half-American half-Vietnamese children were also abandoned by their servicemen fathers.  In the years after Vietnam War, programs sponsored by the U.S. government worked to locate these children and bring them to America to be reunited with their parents or to be placed in a the care of a foster family.

Keiko Tsuno’s documentary film The Story of Vinh follows the path of one such child, Vinh, over the course of four years as he attempts to adjust to life in America.  Vinh is moved from foster family to foster family, until his rebellious and apathetic attitude lands him in a group home for troubled youth.  Originally thought to be fifteen-years-old, Vinh is determined to be much older — at least eighteen according to his dental records.  Refusing to follow the rules, Vinh is eventually expelled from the group home, joins a New York street gang, and eventually ends up in prison.  Tsuno’s treatment of Vinh’s story exposes the darker side of immigration in America, underlining the difficulty many immigrants have adapting to life in America.

Buechley, Martin.  "The Story of Vinh."  ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries.

Asian American Filmography ExEAS