• Golden Globe Awards

Dad, I’m Sorry [Bố Già] (Vietnam)

The family tragicomedy Bố già (Dad, I’m Sorry) has already broken a record by becoming the highest-grossing Vietnamese movie of all time, with grosses of about $20 million; it is also the first Vietnamese film to collect $1 million at the U.S. box office. It marks a milestone in the career of beloved Vietnamese television showman Tran Thành, the film’s director, writer, producer, and star. Bố Già is based on the popular web drama of the same name. This film has been hailed, especially in Vietnam and South East Asia, as a genuine, truthful and involving portrait of life in an Indochinese metropolis, in this case, Ho Chi Min City (former Saigon). It’s Tran’s first movie.
With the frantic pace of a soap opera, shouted lines punctuated by a musical score that soars like a laugh track mixed with hip hop, rap and rock, and a plotline that runs in different directions at the same time – all trademarks of the Vietnamese/Korean comedy style – Bố Già tells the story of Ba Sang (Trấn Thành), a hapless man trying to survive in the middle of chaotic HCM City while dealing with the vagaries of his dysfunctional family. He makes ends meet by driving a motorcycle taxi in a poor neighborhood in HCM City and strives to navigate a peaceful life between his bullying and often drunk siblings, his screaming sister-in-law, his loving girlfriend, and his budding YouTuber teenager son Woan, who creates disasters at every turn, including flooding the neighboring alley in order to create a pool party for his friends in the house as a YouTube challenge.
Life turns an unexpected turn for all when an ex-girlfriend of Woan goes on social media revealing herself to be the mother of the six-year-old girl whom Ba Sang had taken in the house – a fact Ba Sang had until then hidden from his son. With Woan’s career disgraced and his commercial contracts gone, Ba Sang also discovers that – because he has always chosen to take care of his family instead of looking after his own health – his kidney is failing. Faced with the urgent need of a kidney transplant for Ba Sang, the entire family has to make some tough decisions to save the life of their good-hearted but unfortunate family member. The film’s perspective on societal inequities and injustices is reminiscent of a comedic version of Parasite
“This film focuses on the relationship between a father and a son,” said Trấn on the occasion of the film’s release in the US. “Even if the culture and lifestyle of HCM City are strongly featured. In modern society, when people are facing a hopeless situation, they often turn to spiritual solutions to solve their problems. The film reflects the weak points in young people’s psychology.”
Alongside Trấn Thành, the cast of Bố Già includes some of Trấn’s peers at the People’s Artist Theater, such as comic actress Ngọc Giàu and young actors Tuấn Trần and Ngân Chi, among many others.
Bố Già was distributed theatrically in the US and Australia last May after its premiere in Malaysia and Singapore in April: it won several awards at many Asian film festivals around the world. Since its release, many of the filming locations, such as Hng o Theatre, Vng Cnh Hill, the Hu University of Education, and King Khi nh’s Mausoleum, have become tourist attractions.