Braised (Thịt Kho)

Clutching a heart-rending secret, Maggie Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American screenwriter, makes an unannounced visit home to reconcile with her mom. A bowl of braised pork pushes their bond to a breaking point.

  • Huong Vu
  • Huong Vu
  • Dylan Lam
  • Huong Vu
  • Dylan Lam
  • Ryan King
  • Samiyah Wardlaw
  • Shirley Nguyen
    Key Cast
    "Maggie Nguyen"
  • Bi Jean Ngo
    Key Cast
    "Mai Nguyen"
  • Simon Shih
    Key Cast
    "Nam Nguyen"
  • Po Yen
    Key Cast
    "Uncle Kevin"
  • Lillian Liao
    Key Cast
    "Aunt Hannah"
  • Abby Doherty
    Director of Photography
  • Nhi Nguyen
    Production Designer
  • Dylan Lam
  • Pattrick Simmons
  • June Hart
    Sound Design
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Slice of life
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 15, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    4,700 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Vietnamese
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Drexel University
Director Biography - Huong Vu

Huong Vu is a Philadelphia-based Vietnamese writer, director and cinematographer. Born and raised in Vietnam, Huong moved to the United States to pursue her higher education in 2018; she holds BA degrees in Film Production and Critical Ethnic Studies from Drexel University. Huong’s works focus on familial conflicts, the diaspora, food, and memory. She has a particular affection for narratives involving imperfect Asian women who persistently grapple with their missteps. Huong is a 2023 Cinema & Television BIPOC Filmmaker Grant awardee and a recipient of Scribe Video Center Student Filmmaker Fund.

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Director Statement

As I matured, I grappled with the complexities of my relationship with my mother. While my peers seemed to share unbreakable bonds of friendship with their mothers, ours was a connection punctuated by conflicts and discord. Yet, after our every heated argument, a constant prevailed: her endless and quite offering of Vietnamese dishes- bún chả, bún bò Huế, cháo gà, xôi xéo, cháo thịt băm,etc. Food had always been there, linking me to my mother. It is her love language and a connection my mom and I could always have together; when she cooks the food I eat, she feels like I am more hers, and when I eat the food she cooks, I feel accepted by her. I spent my childhood and adolescence in 4 different countries, and Vietnamese food is the vessel through which my family has expressed love, and it's also the lifeline of our culture in a new land. Through Braised (Thịt Kho), I want to explore this complexities of love, communication, and survival within a Vietnamese-American family, using food as the thread that weaves together our emotions, our struggles, and our connections.

When I set out to make Braised (Thịt Kho), I wanted to write a Vietnamese story without it being centered around the war or with heavy trauma attached. I wanted to write about a Vietnamese family and a community that still carries the weight of that trauma but they also learn how to heal from it. I intended to capture these fragmented slices of the Nguyen's lives that make them human beings: how they speak in bursts, how they pick up conversations that occurred hours before, and how their most meaningful discourse happens in pieces, in broken ways. BRAISED, at its core is about the humanity of a father, a mother, and a daughter, and it’s about food and illness. We happen to be Vietnamese. I hope that it just brings some joy to the audience to see more stories coming out about very personal experiences and the very different experiences that we all have.