F&B Film Review: Owl and the Sparrow (Vietnam)

Owl and the Sparrow

Owl and the Sparrow is a film about three lives that are intertwined by odd circumstances. The film perfectly captures a wonderful and unique family situation.

Ten year old Thuy follows her instincts in an unkind city. She starts out by working in her uncle’s factory after the death of her parents. Thuy’s struggles as an orphan, to build a family and support network, defines this movie.

As a setup to her quest for family, Thuy is an orphan who’s business-minded uncle is not concerned with her childhood dreams or her happiness. He is simply concerned about progress and money.

Thuy sets out to build her own network of friends and bonds. Of course, the theme of relationships, the unfairness of society to orphans and a number of other themes are fair game, especially on the rough streets of Saigon, where an orphaned child often becomes a victim.

The film is evocative and illustrates with impeccable story-telling. For example, in one scene Thuy is working for a woman trying to sell flowers on the streets to make enough money for a bite to eat. The poignancy of this subtle illustration of helplessness and innocence is all the more striking because of Thuy’s strength. She doesn’t complain, or ask for handouts.

Owl and the Sparrow paints with delicate brushstrokes, with characters as the paint. Two striking characters entwine with Thuy’s life. The first is Hai, a zookeeper who recently had his fiancé leave him. The second a flight attendant by the name of Lan—a beautiful woman who is having an affair with a married man.

We see a little of both of their lives. Strikingly, the film gives us this perspective from a child’s view. Thuy’s lesson: we forget at times to allow good things to happen.

Although Thuy started out her journey to find herself, she ends up affecting those around her in profound ways. This movie does a wonderful job of exploring the true meaning of family—going being blood and DNA.

Sadly, Thuy’s life as illustrated is totally credible an not uncommon in many cities of the world. Owl and the Sparrow reminds us to view life through the eyes of an innocent child. You are forced to open you heart and mind and discover true meaning of devotion.

Winner of the Heartland Crystal Heart Award and Los Angeles Film Festival.

Cat Ly as Lan
The Lu Le    as Hai
Han Thi Pham as Thuy
Trong Hai as The Captain
Pham Thi Han as Thuy
Nguyen Hau as Uncle Minh
Teresa Michelle Lee     as Bartender
Hoang Long as Soup boy
Bui Thi Noan as Orphan director
Danvy Pham as Dancer
Thi Han Phan as Thuy
Nguyen Kim Phuong as Phuong
Le Nguyen Vu as The magician

Timothy Linh Bui
Nam Doan Nhat
Van Quan Nguyen
Jimmy Pham
Ham Tran

Original Music by
Pete Nguyen

Cinematography by
Stephane Gauger

Film Editing by
Ricardo Javier
Ham Tran

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jenni Trang Le, first assistant director

Sound Department
Gabe Verger, supervising sound editor

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  1. This was a very touching movie well worth seeing.

  2. Family life is very important in many cultures, often the more so in Vietnam and Korea. This movie drove right to the heart of the non-traditional family. I luved it.

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