Viet Voice

The Nail Salon Makes Its Way To Select Theaters

by Kimberly Pham | March 2, 2012 | Bookmark +

For anyone in San Jose and Orange County, Calif., Touch, a film by Minh Nguyen, is making its way to select theaters and it needs your help to make its way to more.

The film is about a Vietnamese-American manicurist named Tam, played by Porter Lynn, and her relationships with those around her. Check out the movie trailer above.

I had the chance to catch the film last year at the Vietnamese International Film Festival (ViFF). You can read my original blog post about the movie here.

The film is beautifully made and has won various awards at film festivals throughout the U.S., including Best Cinematography, Best Actress, and Best Storyline at the Boston International Film Festival and Best First Feature at the Santa Rosa International Film Festival. It was also the winner of the Audience Award at ViFF and the Jury Award at the Atlanta Asian Film Festival.

I was hoping the film would steer clear of the stereotypical badmouthing of clients by Vietnamese nail techs, something that has gone viral with comedienne Anjelah Johnson’s comic skit, but there is a scene with this exact subject matter that I felt a little uneasy about. I asked Minh about this during ViFF’s screening of the movie.

“If we can’t poke fun at ourselves then who can?” Minh says.

Sure, in a room mostly filled with a Vietnamese audience during a Vietnamese film festival, it was funny. But does this depiction of Vietnamese nail techs badmouthing clients in Vietnamese reflect negatively on the already negative view of Vietnamese salons? Or is this just lighthearted humor that the general audience will accept simply as humor within the story?

Luckily, this is just one scene. These nail techs provide the comic relief throughout the film and they do a great job at livening up the nail salon. One of the actors is even a nail tech herself. Tam, the main character, distances herself from the gossiping nail techs and does her best to help her client through his problems. She goes just a little further than an actual nail tech might go in helping her client, and that’s where things get interesting.

"It’s important that you try to catch Touch on the opening weekend because that’s the only way to ensure that this film will stay in the theaters beyond the opening week. If you have family and friends in San Jose and Orange County, please help us spread this news," director Minh Nguyen writes on his blog.

TOUCH opens on Friday, March 9, at AMC Eastbridge 15:
2190 Eastridge Loop, San Jose, CA 95122

The film will make its way to Southern California on Friday, March 16 at AMC Block 30:
20 City Blvd West, Orange, CA 92868

I’m a big supporter of independent films, especially those made by Vietnamese-American film makers, and hope this film does well. Hopefully movie-goers will enjoy the movie so much that they will forget about that one scene which must not be named.

— Kim
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