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DAUGHTER FROM DANANG (article first published : 2003-06-13)

In its life documentary slot, M-NET is to host Daughter from Danang on June16 at 21h35. This is a riveting emotional drama of longing, identity, and the personal legacy of war.

The heartbreaking documentary tells the story of Heidi an“all-American girl”, hailing from small town Pulaski, Tenn. Later in the film it is revealed that her birth name is Mai Thi Hiep, born in Danang, Vietnam in 1968 and she’s the mixed-race daughter of an American serviceman and a Vietnamese woman.

Fearing for her daughter’s safety when the war ended, Hiep’s mother sent her to the US on “Operation Babylift”, a Ford administration plan to relocate orphans and mixed-race children to the US for adoption before they fell victim to a frighteningly uncertain future in Vietnam after the Americans pulled out.

For 22 years they both knew nothing about each other’s existence.

Finally in her long search for her birth mother, Heidi is re-united with her in Danang. But what seems like the cue for a happy ending is anything but gut-wrenching examination of the way cultural differences and emotional expectations collide. Heidi and her Vietnamese relatives find themselves caught in a confusing clash of cultures and at the mercy of conflicting emotions that changes their lives forever.

Through intimate and sometimes excruciating moments, Heidi profoundly shows how wide the chasms of cultural difference and how deep the wounds of war can run even within one family.




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