Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 by Hoai-Tran Bui
(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching, why it’s worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)
The Movie: Song Lang
Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime
The Pitch: In 1980s Saigon, tough and brooding debt collector Dung (Liên Binh Phát) meets Linh Phung (popular V-pop singer Isaac), a young singer for a struggling opera troupe that performs cai luong, the dying art of traditional Vietnamese folk opera. When Dung comes to collect from the opera troupe, he and Linh strike up a tender friendship that gradually transforms into something more.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: It would be easy to write Song Lang off as a grimy Southeast Asian version of Call Me By Your Name — they’re both slow-burning gay romances set in the 1980s — but that would be a disservice to both films. While inevitably reminiscent of Luca Guadagnino’s 2017 film, Song Lang, which is the feature directorial debut of Leon Le, is as much a delicate romance as it is an ode to the dying art form of cai luong and its place in a disappearing corner of Vietnamese history.