Private Project


Present day, in a wooden house of a coffee farm in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Catholic farmer VÂN (27) is bedridden and has only a few months left to live caused by liver cancer. Wandering between reality, memories and dreams, she is trying to record a farewell message for her daughters NGUYỆT (6) and NGA (3). Moreover, she has a final wish to donate her organs by deceased which is unprecedented in her village. Her husband HOÀNG (30) should bring this news to her FATHER – a conservative farmer who helps them to take care of the girls. In the meantime, HOÀNG’s due date to pay off the debt to his patron KIÊN in term of a kidney donation, supposedly for KIÊN’s own father, is also approaching.

  • Marcus Manh Cuong Vu
  • Marcus Manh Cuong Vu
  • Marcus Manh Cuong Vu
  • Vu Hai Linh
  • Red
    Key Cast
  • Kim
    Key Cast
  • Thach Kim Long
    Key Cast
    "Van's Father"
  • Huu Thanh Tung
    Key Cast
    "Kien "
  • Trieu Man
    Key Cast
  • Trieu Minh
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 25 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 1, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    Viet Nam
  • Country of Filming:
    Viet Nam
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Busan International Film Festival
    Korea, Republic of
    October 7, 2022
    World Premiere
    New Currents Competition
  • BaliMakarya International Film Festival
    October 19, 2022
    Southeast Asian Premiere
    Best Feature Film Competition: Nominated in Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress
  • Hanoi International Film Festival
    Viet Nam
    November 9, 2022
    Official Selection
  • International Film Festival of India
    November 24, 2022
    India Premiere
    Official Selection
  • World Film Festival of Bangkok
    December 8, 2022
    Thailand Premiere
    Lotus Award Competition
  • Theatrical Release

    Viet Nam
    October 7, 2022
    Vietnam Premiere
  • Viet Film Fest
    Orange County
    United States
    October 8, 2022
    North American Premiere
    Best Picture Nomination
  • FICA Vesoul
    March 4, 2023
    European Premiere
    In Competition
  • Asian Film Festival Rome
    April 4, 2023
    Italy Premiere
    Newcomer Competition
  • Danang Asian Film Festival
    Viet Nam
    May 9, 2023
    NETPAC Award
  • Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival
    Kota Kinabalu
    September 26, 2023
    Cinebalu Screenings
  • ASEAN International Film Festival & Awards
    August 3, 2023
    Malaysian Premiere
    Nominated for Best Actress, Best Cinematography
  • Bakunawa Fantastic Film Fest
    November 7, 2023
    Philippine Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Vietnam National Film Festival
    Da Lat
    Viet Nam
    November 21, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Hiroshima International Film Festival
    November 23, 2023
    Japan Premiere
    Special Screenings
  • Si loin si proche Film Festival
    La ferme du Buisson
    January 25, 2024
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • Vietnam Media Corp.
    Sales Agent
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
  • BHD
    Country: Viet Nam
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Marcus Manh Cuong Vu

Marcus Manh Cuong Vu got his university degree in Berlin (Germany) and Paris (France). He began as a film reporter from major international film festivals for Vietnamese media. From 2010 to 2014 he served as festival director of Yxine Film Fest (YxineFF) – an international short film festival pioneering in a hybrid form. From 2015 on he has been taking part actively in the Vietnamese film industry in different roles: writer, producer, director. As a programmer he has curated short films for S-Express, SEAShorts, Asian Film Symposium. His debut feature film MEMENTO MORI: EARTH (2022) world premiered at the New Currents Competition of the 27th Busan International Film Festival 2022. Marcus is currently working on his second feature MEMENTO MORI: WATER which was selected for Asian Project Market of BIFF 2021.

The cinematic trilogy MEMENTO MORI has been developed since 2019:

MEMENTO MORI: EARTH (2022), world premiere in New Currents, Busan IFF 2022
MEMENTO MORI: WATER currently in pre-production, officially selected for Asian Project Market Busan 2021
MEMENTO MORI: FIRE in script development

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Director Statement

When I was 14, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer. We all knew that he had little time to live, if left untreated. So, taking a gamble with his life, he chose to have the surgery. The operation went well, although three-fourth of his stomach was gone. There he was, now reduced to a bedridden weak man, far from the strong-willed father I once knew. He spent most of his time in bed for the next 6 months. Nevertheless, sometimes he grew strong and got up to walk. I knew and admired that there was a still little more fight left in him.

We did not discuss much about his illness nor condition, in the family. Deep down, we were all aware that he was suffering, even him. I remember, once in those hot summer days, he took up the strength to tell me that he would not choose the surgery, if he could turn back time. That truth hurt me the most.

Do terminal illnesses leave people with no choice at all? I’ve been pondering this since the time of my father, until I found the answers in Dang Hoang Giang’s book, “Destination of Life”. The author recalled true stories of people who spent their final moments seeking the meaning of living, and life itself. They often wondered about their own destiny, as well as the fate of their loved ones who are left behind. They wanted to let go but also hesitated to leave. They wanted to accept and move on in peace, while longing for life still. These people must choose how to face death as their lives were leaving them slowly.

I decided to take on this question through a cinematic journey in “Memento Mori”. I was determined to find out how the protagonists face with the life and death question as I have done so. I wanted to dig deep into their instincts and feelings in their darkest hours, to understand and share their love of life to those remaining.

In MEMENTO MORI: EARTH, the female protagonist wants to live a meaningful and peaceful life despite its duration remains short. As an ordinary woman from a less developed region, she realizes the good purpose of organ donation and fights for her final wish. Her death should not end there, but become a new journey for someone else. This is how I see a peaceful world would maintain and sustainably develop.