Children of the mist


*IDFA'21 International Competition


* Little Stamp for the best film by a young author under 35 - ZagredDox

* Clarens Prize for Humanist Documentary Filmmaking
Endowed by the Clarens Foundation for Humanism (€5,000) and awarded to a feature film from any of the festival’s categories (competitive or not), the Clarens Prize for Humanist Documentary Filmmaking seeks to champion the cardinal values of mankind in various fields of social and historical experience.
For its elegance, for what it says about the immense difficulty of liberating oneself from the alienation imposed by one’s own community, for the filmmaker’s stealthy yet persevering commitment, we are happy to give the award to this film. Children of the Mist by Diem Ha Le

* IDFA International Competition - Award for Best Directing
* IDFA Best First Feature Special Mention
* Budapest International Documentary Festival
- Senior Jury Award and Brave Children Award

Children of the Mist

Category |Ethnography, Human Interest, Sexuality, Social Issues, Women, Youth
Year | 2021
Country | Vietnam
Running time | 90’
Format | HD
Production | Varan Vietnam Co., Ltd
Director | Diem Ha Le

Children of the Mist follows the story of Di, a 13-year-old Hmong girl with a dream to escape the destiny of many teenage girls of her ethnic group. Di is fortunate that she belongs to the first generation of children in the village with the opportunity to continue studying into high school. Most of the village women, including Di’s mother, didn’t have this chance. Di’s mother is 34 years old, already a grandmother, completely illiterate, and speaks very little Vietnamese. Di has a chance to avoid this fate by passing the high school entrance exam to continue her education. But if she fails, she may be trapped in the village her entire life...“like a frog in a well.”

At school, the teachers encourage students to study as long as possible.But most of the parents prefer their children working in the fields rather than attending lessons. When Di enters puberty, her personality changes drastically within a year: the carefree little girl has turned into an impetuous, hypersensitive teenager. She spends hours chatting on Facebook with boys. She often has arguments with her mother, who forbids her to have reckless relationships. Her mother worries that Di could be harmed or mistreated and won’t have enough maturity to handle the situation.

On the Lunar New Year’s Eve, while Di is preparing to go to a street fair, her mother tells her to stay home as this is the most dangerous day of the year for a girl. She should not go if she doesn’t wish to be bride-kidnapped. When Di’s parents come back home at night, the house is silent and empty: Di has disappeared. Her mother breaks into tears realizing that her daughter has been bride-kidnapped. This moment may signify the end of Di’s childhood and the beginning of her life as a woman.

"A young Hmong girl in Northern Vietnam struggles against a pre-ordained path in Diam Ha Lei’s compelling first feature."

"Interview with director Diem Ha Le" who took home two awards at IDFA 2021 for her stunning Children of the Mist, including the Best Directing Award.
- by Lisa Abeling (Film Fest Report)

IDFA Best Director Winner Ha Le Diem Witnesses Bride Kidnapping in ‘Children of the Mist’
- by Marta Balaga - Variety