Written & Directed by: #AlirezaMirasadollah
An Phouc is an 11-year-old girl from Vietnam. Her big bright blue eyes attracted many photographers from all around the world to visit her. She is one of the tourist attraction icons of Vietnam but despite all that, An Phouc and her family are suffering from poverty and struggling with racism.
The Girl with Blue Eyes is a short documentary following the lives of An Phouc, a young girl with deep blue eyes, and her family. A film about hardships and struggle, the family lives in poverty in the dry streets of a lively neighbourhood in Vietnam. As the film opens, we’re introduced to An Phouc and her family. There are some deeply affecting stories from their tragic past, and there’s a clear focus by Mirasadollah to concentrate on them as they continue living on with purpose.
An Phouc and her brothers and sisters seem very strong and delicately raised by their inspiring parents. They have created a world that can be kind despite the cruelness that has hit them, and with bright blue eyes (extremely rare in such countries) comes attention. Though most photographers mean well and even give the family money for school books, some aren’t so keen to leave a good impression. An Phouc mentions how one in particular asked to take photos of her, brought her to a desert and left her alone after getting the shots he needed. She desperately wonders as she finds her path back home, and though the scenery is lush and beautiful, it’s no place for a child.
Life is all about experience. Some are precious and some are so ugly you wish you could forget. The Girl with Blue Eyes shows us the good and bad, and leaves us on a final shot with the power to make anyone smile. Mirasadollah’s capturing of landscapes and the people is stunning, with thanks to cinematographers Roshi Aba and Nhan Le. There’s a great beauty present in every scene, and though it isn’t the cleanest production in terms of editing and structure, this is an emotional little film.
The Girl with Blue Eyes sees An Phouc change as a person; now using her experience as a model to become the one holding the camera, she aims to take photos of only landscapes, for the world is much nicer than people. Mirasadollah has gifted us with an inspiring short documentary that packs a fair amount of heft in its story and pay-off, though we are merely scraping the surface of this single family’s life and can only imagine the stories that could flow from the many surrounding them. The world is filled with life, and films like these give us a glimpse of the good within it.