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The Rebel by Charlie Nguyens - Vietnamese Arts Movie

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The scene [14:25 to 16:25] marks the conversation between the protagonist, Le Van Cuong and his father. They discuss the themes of betrayal and loyalty towards their country. Cuong’ s father is a seasoned man who has suffered enough to change his views. He is more patient and cynical. His son, on the other hand, is restless and rebellious. He questions the faith of his father. Their conversation is like a tussle as they both try to convince each other of their motives and duties to their country. It is a convention to goad the movie viewers into a suffocating environment where ‘ the conspiracy’ against their country brings out the patriot in the viewers. Gilles Deleuze, the French philosopher writes about this controversy in his book Cinema 2: The Time-Image.

He says that cinema constantly lives in the shadow of an international conspiracy that determines its outline from within (Narkunas, 154). Conspiracy serves as the most intimidating and indispensable adversary in filmmaking. However, it unites the people of a country under one cause, as it was the case in The Rebel. The conspiracy by the French and the international forces against the Vietnamese culture, civilization and country resources united the whole nation.

Nationalism has played a key role in "critical legitimation of film studies" (Ezra & Rowden, p. 3). The postcolonial era of any country fills the void with the stories of heroism. The screenwriters, directors, producers and filmmakers jump at the opportunity to make the most of the peoples’ fantasies of freedom. Where they fight off the invaders, oppressors and colonists. In Vietnam, the revival of cinema is proliferated with these fantasies. The thought of liberation by fighting the enemy that has always plotted to conquer its land is evident in the major movies.

Ezra and Rowden refer to this phenomenon in their essay General Introduction: What Is Transnational Cinema? According to them the most critically significant effort to rejuvenate the ‘ national’ to strengthen the positive self-fashioning is a concept of a postcolonial era (p. 5).  

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