“Pierre-Pierrot,” the very first Lao documentary film by
Lao-French filmmaker Nith La Croix, won the award for best short documentaries at the
annual Asian-Pacific- American Film Festival held at the United
States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
It is the story of a pair of Laotian twins, Pierre and Pierrot, who
were separated during the Vietnam War. The brothers have not seen each other
since their tragic escape across the Mekong River. Pierre eventually ended up in
France while Pierrot remains stranded in Laos.
Nith La Croix discussed with VOA by phone from Vientiane,
Laos, the purpose of making this documentary. He said he wanted to portray,
among other things, the differences in life styles and cultures in the
countries where the twins lived, after they were separated by wars and
political changes. Nith explained, “The twins along with their family tried to
escape via boat across the Mekong River to Thailand. Unfortunately, the boat
sank and the family got separated. Pierre and Mother were able to reach the other side of the river
and continued their journey to France, while Pierrot didn’t make it to
Thailand and ended up back in Laos where he was captured and sent to a re-education camp.”
added, “The film has a strong sense of dualism, showing the dilemma that lies in
the heart of each brother’s existences; whether it’s Pierrot in Laos who
carries on his father’s French Indochina past or Pierre in France who is
uprooted but holds onto his Laotian identity for his children and grand children.
As one of his daughters puts out: “we’re Laotian here in France and we’re
French in Laos”.
Nith told VOA that it has been his desire all along to bring out
many untold stories of the Lao Diaspora. Nith has a lot of credentials in making films and video production. He received a Master’s Degree of Fine Arts
from Paris specializing in these fields. Nith spent one year in the U.S. in an
exchange program and made America his home until he went to Laos where he
currently resides. While living in France, Nith traveled to many different
countries where he learned about the lives of overseas Laotians living there. He has
been documenting the lives of Lao people both in France and America, and now in
Laos. “There are only a few Laotian filmmakers around and I want to continue
this kind of work. Laos has a lot to offer, there are plenty of raw materials
and plenty of projects that I can undertake, and I wish I could keep doing this
until I’m in my 70’s, 80’s or even 90’s, ” he added.
Nith said he wants to help the media and entertainment sectors in
Laos to go on to the next level and be accepted professionally. As of now, Nith
tries to work with both the private sector and the Lao government in this area,
where he feels that Laos still has a lot of room to grow.
“I love this kind of work.
I will continue to work as long as I live. On top of that, I love Laos. I’ve
lived in many places around the world, but there’s no place like home-Laos,”
Listen to our interview with Nith La Croix in Lao by clicking on our audio files above.