By WUA XIONG
AAP staff writer
Journey to the Fallen Skies is much more than your typical Hmong movie. Hmong movies have been steadily improving in content and production quality – and I believe this is one film will set the bar for how Hmong movies are made in the future. Journey to the Fallen Skies is a drama and one that will keep you guessing until the end. Our main character, Leng (Wa Yang) pulls the movie together.
The story starts with Leng walking through a dirt road and carrying a suitcase and he is not happy. Maybe he got ripped off by a taxi or somebody stole his luggage from the airport because he is only carrying a backpack and suitcase. But he is in Laos and looks troubled as though he is struggling with something.
Leng is angry and looking for a place to stay. He is given direction to a resort owner Joua Pao (Khais Vang) as the only place in town where he can stay, because he has no relatives in that area of the mountain.
The majority of the story takes place in an unknown village in Laos. Leng, during his time in the village becomes sick (from a pre-existing condition called cancer) and cannot leave. With the help of Joua Pao and a young lady, Gao Hlee (Dib Thao), he eventually recovers to return home.
Yang did a great job with the acting. We watch him grow emotionally throughout the movie. Keep an eye for the ‘mountain’ scene; good stuff. And Khais Vang absolutely steals some great scenes in the movie; especially the ‘qeej’ scenes.
Dib Thao adds some much needed estrogen to the movie. I almost feel that there should have been a couple more scenes with her and Yang in it. Perhaps even growing that developing relationship further, because we know that Hmong people enjoy love stories; just look at our favorite love songs.
The soundtrack was good; some of the songs I have heard before and was a bit surprised to hear it in the movie. There is even some Rap beats and this definitely will appeal to younger audiences. It is the music that makes this movie very ‘Hmong American’ made. Just watch the trailer and you can hear the singing style, almost feels like a Hmong church song.
What I found engaging about this movie was the direction and pace that it took to develop the story. We learn later in the end, the story is about the dynamics between a father and a son. What it means to be a father, a son, and searching for answers that may never be answered unless you visit Laos as Leng did.
Overall, you cannot compare this movie to a Hollywood made movie with a million dollar budget. But for a Hmong movie that was filmed on location in Thailand; it makes me hopeful for future work done by Bryan Vue and Mong Vang (Bird’s Eye-Vue and Hmong Bro’s Productions). Perhaps in their next endeavor they can make a full blown scary Hmong movie. I’d pay to see that.
See the trailer and for more information at www.hmongempire.com/jfsthemovie. Watch all of Vue’s films online at www.myspace.com/bryancvue, www.youtube.com/birdseyevue, or www.imeen.com/bryanvue.