Madam Phung’s Last Journey

Courtesy of Icarus Films.


Directed by Nguyen Thi Tham. Vietnam 2014. Vietnamese with English subtitles. 87 min.

Madam Phung is a canny businesswoman who got her start as a singer, and saved her money in the form of gold bars she would bury in the ground. Now she is something of a den mother to her largely transgender troupe—berating them when they drink or fight too much; warning them to stay out of trouble; and dealing with local police and occasionally hostile locals when necessary. This documentary takes us on a year-long ride with an itinerant troupe of cross-dressing performers, led by Bic Phung, as they travel the remote southern regions and central highlands of Vietnam.

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