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San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

Sunday, March 13, 2011
8:00 p.m. Bi, Don't Be Afraid!
Phan Dang Di (Vietnam/France/Germany, 2010)

(Bi, dung so!) Events in a young Hanoi family flow and freeze in time in this finely observed feature debut from the screenwriter of 2009’s Adrift. Bi is an inquisitive six-year-old who loves to play in an ice factory. Running free with little parental supervision, spending time with his taciturn grandfather, Bi slowly begins to uncover the mysterious secrets—and sexuality—of adults. Despite its earthy and quotidian atmosphere, Bi, Don’t Be Afraid! suggests an allegory of the three ages of man: child, husband, and ancient wanderer. Bi’s restless curiosity about the forces of nature reveals a world that is in constant flux and yet can be frozen in memory, like the maple leaves that Bi drops into water to freeze. What doesn’t ice over is the repeating cycle of wandering fathers, the electricity that lights hidden chambers, and the flow of water. A beautifully understated film that will linger in your memory, Bi won two International Critics Week's prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.

—Frako Loden

• Written by Dang. Photographed by Pham Quang Minh. With Phan Thanh Minh, Hoa Thuy, Nguyen Ha Phong, Kieu Trinh. (90 mins, In Vietnamese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm)