SIFF preview: Saigon Electric

In Saigon Electric, the second feature film by director Stephane Gauger, a young Vietnamese traditional ribbon dancer from the countryside toes to Saigon to study at the big academy but learns more about life, love, friendship, and kicking some ass through break dance and hip-hop battles.

Festival Screenings:

May 28, 7:15pm Neptune Theater (Follow by Asian Crossroads Party after the movie)
May 30, 3:00pm AMC Pacific Place 11
June 1, 6:00pm Everett Performing Arts Center

Saigon is a densely populated metropolis of Vietnam, and until 1975 it was the capital under the French colony. Mai, a traditional ribbon dancer, moves to this “Paris in the Orient” from the countryside hoping to enroll to the national dance academy, but she gets cold feet and fails her auditions. Rather than tell her mother the truth, she lies and says that she passed her audition. Not knowing what to do, she rents single room from music professor and gets a job at a fast food joint where her new friend Kim also works. Kim, a rebellious hip hop dancer from the Saigon Fresh, the best dance crew in city. Through Kim, Mai dives into the world of hip hop dancing and starts going to The Youth Center, where the crew is training to realize their dream to compete in South Korea. But first they have to beat the national champions, North Killaz, from Hanoi, the capital of Saigon.

As Mai and the crew learn new moves in effort to win, their outside lives also take over. Mai spends more time with her new friends and kids at the center, many of whom have been labeled troublemakers, and even teaches them traditional ribbon dancing. Kim starts to get in trouble, engages in and loses unauthorized street battle with rival girl from North Killaz, and even quits the crew. Events start to take unfavorable turns for Saigon Fresh and their home, which becomes in jeopardy. As anger and hopelessness sweep through the group, Mai and her new friends seek desperately to save their home, to beat North Killaz, and to keep their friendships intact. Through it all, the learn the important lesson that it’s okay to be young and stupid as long as you never give up on your dreams.

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