Film: Indochina – Traces of a Mother

West African infantry fighting for France under French colonial rule.

One of the little known stories from the legacy of Afro-Vietnamese children born as one of the results of the contact of French Colonial West African soldiers – tirailleurs sénégalais, with the Vietnamese in the French colonial invasion into Indochina/Southeast Asia, is told through the eyes of Christophe, now a 58-year-old man.


Christophe, 58-years old at time of the film’s making
Indochina Traces of Mother_pointing
He points to people he knew in the old photographs

Most of the orphans were abandoned by their mothers, as was the case in the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Laos, China, and other places in Asia where Westerners came.

Indochina – Traces of a Mother, is a poetic and profound documentary film created by one of the foremost West African directors working today, from Benin: Idrissou Mora Kpai.

Memory and longing and identity are inextricably linked, told through the stories of so many Black Pacific children, whose stories go largely ignored, repressed, forgotten, forbidden, and in the recesses of globalization’s reach in the present. Histories are inextricably linked from the past into the present — between Vietnamese longing, identity, freedom, French colonialism and African infantry empowerment and subjugation under colonial rule.  Who are we today and what have we forgotten or repressed?  How does this affect us as a humanity?

It is, as expected, a haunting, haunted, and heart-breaking, yet heart-warming story.

This is yet another important story that I wished all would see.

Here is a nice summary of the film, from Cornell University Films site:

Here is a trailer:

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