Maya Angelou once said: “You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.”
Most people, no matter where we came from or where life has taken us, remain attached to memories of our early years — the times, places, people, events, as well as the loves and affections and the turmoils of our young hearts.
For me, that special place of my childhood — my ancestral homeland — is Vietnam, which I had to leave many years ago. I grew up there during the war, so naturally a lot of my memories from that time are not happy ones. And I’ve always regretted that due to safety and security reasons I didn’t get many opportunities to travel outside of Saigon and see much of the country.
Thus it was quite a pleasant surprise when a friend sent me a link to this wonderful video shot by a young filmmaker of Vietnamese descent, Arnaud Ly Van Manh. This short film (6 minutes), titled This Land, “takes viewers across Vietnam and focuses on the beautiful landscapes, people, and tranquil moments one finds in the country’s mountains, streams and pagodas. Manh’s trip took him to Halong Bay, Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, the Mekong Delta and Phan Thiet last Christmas, and he relished every moment spent in the land that his father left at the age of 18. ‘That’s why I filmed This Land, trying to share the emotion I felt discovering these cities and villages, this country, this land which is mine in some ways,’ Manh wrote in the video description.” *
* Saigoneer, Published on Wednesday, 10 December 2014
A far cry from the war documentaries of years ago, this beautiful clip captures the simple poetry of my childhood homeland and its people, and it fills my heart with tenderness and peaceful longing. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.