A young and lowborn countryside girl must fight boredom, loneliness, and competition from other struggling migrant workers to overcome an imminent wretched life.
The Girl From Dak Lak is a powerful social realist drama that follows the journey of Trinh. The film will not try to make the audience feel sorry or sympathy for any of the characters. It will take distance and will just show the daily routine of Trinh and her struggle to find her place in Saigon.
Trinh is the main character of the film, which adopts her point of view as the only way to inform the audience about the events that occur in her life. Anything that happens outside Trinh’s perception will not be caught by the camera.
The protagonists of The Girl From Dak Lak are non-professional actors. We will be looking for actors who share similar lifestyles with the characters. The acting will be natural and actors will not memorise lines from the script.
The camera will follow Trinh around the hectic Saigon. In order to make the experience more claustrophobic, the aspect ratio will tend to the square, with Trinh in the centre. The spectator will focus on her and not on the details around the screen.
Saigon is a city full of noises. Motorbike horns, cars, street vendors advertising their products, cocks crowing, numerous construction sites, improvised street karaokes… All these will fill the screen to make the experience more realistic.
Raised in a tough, remote part of the country, Trinh has been taught to keep her head down. Under the seemingly docile quietness, Trinh knows what she does and does not want. She wants a life different from that of other girls in her village.
Trinh’s colleague at the restaurant also arrived to Saigon 2 years ago from the Mekong Delta. When she first arrived she was shy and humble, but after all this time working in the city she has become a different woman.
Huy is a young man who dropped out of school young. He currently delivers ice to some restaurants in the district. He is desperate for money since he has to look after his ill grandfather. Smoke, beer and gambling are part of his daily routine.
With a few foldable metal tables and low plastic stools, the restaurant is open to the street and the noise dominates the space. The walls are not as clean as they used to be when the restaurant opened a few years ago, and some promotional photos are hanging. The restaurant also counts with a small kitchen area and a back space where the workers wash the dishes.
The traffic is intense and Trinh finds it difficult to cross the road. The facades of the buildings are a continuum of different small businesses, from nail painting to locksmiths. People wait for their customers outside their shops smoking and gossipping. The sidewalk is narrow and sometimes bikes are in the way, hampering Trinh’s walks.