In this intergenerational double bill, physical and metaphorical journeys intertwine, revealing intimate excavations of history and place. Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam chronicles a voyage sisters Lynne and Dana Sachs—one a filmmaker, the other a writer—made from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi in 1994. Reveling in the kaleidoscopic sounds and images of Vietnamese daily life, their road trip morphs into a reckoning with untold histories as the pair openly juxtapose travelogue with their own childhood memories of America’s first televised war.
A different family bond frames Celaje, in which Sofía Gallisá Muriente combines old, new, and found Super8 and 16mm footage to tell her grandmother’s life story and the history of Puerto Rico as twinned narratives. Hand-developing film reels to expose them to the salt, heat, humidity, and wind that whipped around the family home in Levittown, Toa Baja, Gallisá Muriente poignantly gestures to the impermanence of archives both personal and collective on the island. Frequently connecting climate and memory, she has written about the film, “Memories move around like clouds, images rot and age, and the traces of the process are visible on the film and in the country, like ghosts.”
Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam. 1994. USA. Directed by Lynne Sachs in collaboration with Dana Sachs. New York City preservation premiere. In English, Vietnamese; English subtitles. 33 min.
Celaje (Cloudscape). 2020. Puerto Rico. Directed by Sofía Gallisá Muriente. Score by José Iván Lebrón Moreira. In Spanish; English subtitles. 41 min.