Saturday , May 25 2024

Daughter of ‘Parasite’ star portrays Vietnamese woman in new film

Judy Song, the daughter of South Korean actor Song Kang-ho, known for his roles in “Parasite” dedicated three months to learning Vietnamese in preparation for her role in the film “White Butterfly.”

Judy Song, daughter of South Korean actor Song Kang Ho, portrays a Vietnamese-Korean woman in the short film White Butterfly. Photo courtesy of Song

Judy Song, daughter of South Korean actor Song Kang Ho, portrays a Vietnamese-Korean woman in the short film “White Butterfly.” Photo courtesy of Song

Catherine T. Nguyen, director of “White Butterfly” and Song’s classmate at New York University, said during the film’s premiere in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday that Song showed a willingness to learn and speak Vietnamese upon request. Her “teachers” were Nguyen herself, as well as Vietnamese actress Minh Trang, who stars in the film as May’s grandmother.

Portraying May, a Vietnamese-Korean woman raised in the U.S. who travels to Vietnam after learning of her mother’s death, Song delivers fluent Vietnamese and English dialogue in the film. Her Vietnamese was said to be smooth and emotional.

Commenting on the film, Song said May’s story resonated with her own life, as she was also born in South Korea but relocated to the U.S. from a young age. She also recognized how the Vietnamese and South Korean cultures shared similarities.

“‘White Butterfly” is a short film and Nguyen’s university graduation project. It revolves around the protagonist May’s journey to seek to understand her Vietnamese mother’s life and the reason why her mother never relocated to the U.S. to join May and her father. However, May feels like an outsider as her mother’s relatives avoid her questions.

The film was shot in the outskirts of Hanoi and northern Bac Giang province. Various Vietnamese traditional cultural elements are integrated in the film, including hau dong, a UNESCO-recognized ritual part of Vietnam’s centuries-old Mother Goddesses worship tradition.

Veteran Vietnamese actresses Nhu Quynh and Minh Trang also star.

The film will have its world premiere at the 2023 Hawaii International Film Festival.

Nguyen said her aim while making the film was “to spread the real image” of Vietnam and “introduce a unique aspect of Vietnamese culture” to the world.

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