Taste (Vi)

Directed by Bao Le

  • Indonesia, Vietnam;

  • SCENT previous work of director Bao Le, available for screening on Festival Scope

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Bassley is a Nigerian footballer playing in Saigon to support his family back home. When he breaks his leg, his contract is terminated. With nowhere to go, Bassley finds work as a masseuse for middle-aged Vietnamese women. Whatever money he makes, he stuffs into the plaster cast.

Seeking additional income, Bassley works as a prostitute. He finds four women from working class backgrounds that had never previously met. Together, they all arrive at one of the woman’s old family homes. They strip down and over the course of three days and two nights, they return to a primal state: they clean together, cook together, eat together, sleep together, and have sex multiple times.

Afterwards, Bassley attempts to enter their lives in more ordinary ways. They all seem to have moved on, but something has changed in Bassley.

It is dark, Bassley walks through a dense rainforest, walking in the opposite direction are two wild boar. Bassley stops to look at them, then continues walking into the darkness.

Director's Statement

The idea for Taste first came to me when I was in high school, observing tired African men sitting at the back of the bus at the end of a long day. This image has stayed with me.

In Saigon, there are many Africans seeking employment and opportunities. They are often preyed upon and exploited and end up with no money. They have to find other means of survival on the streets of Saigon.

But I do not want to make a film that exploits the plight of an African man living in Vietnam. Bassley is in many ways a manifestation of my own private fears and questioning my identity within a community. It is an intimate sensory meditation into what it means to be human.

The film will be shot with minimal cutting. It is important to me to respect the spaces we film in as living entities that need to breathe, and to observe the emotions of the characters inhabiting that space unfold in an unobstructed way. Instead of using music, the environment and conversations will create the melody of the film.


  • E&W FILM