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Journey From The Fall

Dir. Ham Tran, 2006, USA, 135 min.

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Special Edition Blu-ray

Contains the following bonus features:

  • Original Soundtrack Bonus CD

  • Full-feature video commentary with cast and crew

  • Deleted scenes, B-roll and on-set footage

  • Cast and crew interviews

  • Original trailer and TV spots

  • Extensive historical testimonials, cultural notes and teaching supplements

1080p / Vietnamese 5.1 & 2.0 DTS-HD MA / English and English SDH subtitles / dual layer / AVC @ 25 MBPS / REGION FREE

Out July 9, 2024!

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The fall of Saigon, as told by those who lived it

April 30, 1975 marked the end of Vietnam's two-decade-old civil war and the start of the exodus of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Despite his alliance to the toppled South Vietnamese government, Long Nguyen (as Long Nguyen) decides to remain in Vietnam. Imprisoned in a Communist re-education camp, he urges his family to make the escape by boat without him. His wife Mai (Diem Lien), son Lai (Nguyen Thai Nguyen) and mother Ba Noi (Kieu Chinh) then embark on the arduous ocean voyage in the hope of reaching the U.S. and freedom.

 

Inspired by the true stories of Vietnamese refugees who fled their land after the fall of Saigon, and those who were forced to stay behind, Journey from the Fall follows one family's struggle for freedom.

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An incredible film that never found its audience

Journey From The Fall premiered as an official selection at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to win sixteen international awards. Critics called it "powerful and unforgettable" (Todd Schwartz, CBS Radio) and "movingly rendered" (Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter).

But the film being in (mostly) Vietnamese made it a difficult sell, and the film ended up being sold to a startup media company called ImaginAsian Entertainment. While the company gave the film a respectable theatrical release in a few markets, they simply did not have the resources to push awareness to a wider audience.

The Vietnamese American community came out in force to support the film, grossing huge per-screen averages in heavily Vietnamese areas like Orange County, California.

 

Unfortunately, the film never broke through to the wider film community. ImaginAsian Entertainment sold its assets and went out of business a few years later. Journey From The Fall has been unavailable ever since.

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Critical Acclaim

“Writer/Director Ham Tran achieves the impossible.”

  • Matt Zoller Seitz, The New York Times

 

“A superbly wrought saga of loss and survival… A remarkably ambitious debut… A major accomplishment. An example of sophisticated, impassioned filmmaking involving mainly people who lived through the harrowing experiences so unsparingly depicted.”

  • Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

 

“Striking… Powerful and unforgettable… A journey that must be taken”

  • Todd David Schwarz, CBS Radio

 

“A post-Vietnam war boat people saga is launched to compelling effect… A strong entry on a crucial historical topic. Frequently enthralling. This glossy production deserves to be seen by a wider commercial audience.”

  • Russell Edwards, Daily Variety

 

“Humane and compelling.”

  • Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

 

“Tran’s film does honor to the memory of all who journeyed after the fall of Saigon.”

  • Kim Voynar, Cinematical

 

“Re-educates as well as entertains, but never takes the easy way out. At points heartbreaking, at others uplifting, Journey from the Fall doesn’t pull any punches.”

  • Mark Bell, Film Threat

 

“A movingly rendered, stirringly photographed first feature by Ham Tran.”

  • Michael Rechtschaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

 

“[Journey from the Fall] will break your heart.”

  • Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News

 

“[Journey from the Fall] seems to answer Mr. Cimino’s movie [The Deer Hunter] across the decades – not to rebuke it, but to remind the world that the extras Robert DeNiro passed in the Saigon streets while searching for Christopher Walken lived, loved and suffered too, and that their stories deserve to be told.”

  • Matt Zoller Seitz, The New York Times

 

“An unmissable, powerful and essential film… so rooted in history and yet made with sensitivity and grace”

  • Erika Franklin, Firecracker Magazine, UK FILM Council

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Why We Love It

In 2024, K-pop is mainstream, anime and manga are nearly so, and while we still have far to go, quite a few major Hollywood films and TV series have centered Asian stories and actors. This is a very, very recent thing. You don't have to go back in history very far for a time when virtually no Asians were cast in anything, and when Americans shunned subtitles. This meant that even major stories that were ABOUT Asians and tragedies in Asia resulted in movies that did not star Asians. Which is insane to even think about.

When I was right out of college, I got a job at a small startup media company that tried to change all of that. It was called ImaginAsian Entertainment (I know, awful name). Their goal was to bring the best of Asian and Asian American Entertainment to the masses. Being a massive fan of anime and Asian pop culture in general, I was all in.

The company was... kind of a shambles. They tried to do way too much and never really had a clear vision of what they wanted to be. While it was mostly a cable network, the CEO really wanted to be in the movie business. So before long, we were going to film markets, making deals, and trying to start an indie film distributor.

But if there was one good – even great – thing to have come from that work experience, it was this. Journey From The Fall was the only film we released theatrically, and one of only a handful that we released on DVD. 

Even by major studio standards, this film is stunning. An unflinching and deeply affecting look at the refugee crisis that followed the fall of Saigon, it follows one family as it tries to flee, and the dad left behind, sentenced to life in a re-education camp. It's the story immediately familiar to millions of Vietnamese American families, as well as those who re-located to other parts of the world.

For this edition, we sourced the last remaining copy of the film's high definition transfer. The original film elements were stored at Technicolor's now-shuttered Thailand laboratory, and are thought to be lost. (All existing 35mm copies are exhibition prints with burned-in subtitles.) Some additional restoration was required – some light dust and scratch removal, and other repair work was undertaken. Copious bonus features, many of which were included in the earlier DVD, were also pulled from my personal archives, along with the uncompressed 5.1 audio mix.

There are quite a few great Vietnam War films. You can probably name at least 5 or 6 off the top of your head. But virtually all of them are from the American perspective. The people that lived there, who raised their families in peace, only to be torn apart by an unimaginable conflict, were mostly secondary and bit roles in these stories. For the estimated two million Vietnamese that fled, that had their families and their lives torn apart, their story has been largely untold.

The 50th anniversary of the fall of Saigon is coming up, in April, 2025. The world is once again being torn apart by conflict, and millions are being forced to flee.

 

It's time we remember.

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