Dancing in the Park — Hanoi at Its Millennium

USA 2010, 11 min
Directed by Mike Douglass and Henry Mochida with Hao Nguyen
Vietnamese with English subtitles

This film is the story of social life in Hanoi, a city in the midst of its 1,000th anniversary as the capital of Vietnam. Every morning Hanoians from across the city gather at Thong Nhat Park for relaxation, exercise, chatting and ballroom dancing. As the city enters a new epoch as an open market economy, the park has quickly become a target for global investment seeking to privatize public spaces. The film shows how park users share in creating and managing activities for social engagement and how they view the importance of the park in their daily lives. It also follows how NGOs and journalists in Hanoi mobilized Hanoians to confront the immanent threat to this vital social space.

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Mike Douglass focuses his research on livable cities in Asia, with particular interest in Hanoi. His recent books include: “Globalization, the Rise of Civil Society and Civic Spaces in Pacific Asia Cities” (2010) and “Building Urban Communities: The Politics of Civic Space in Asia” (2008). He is the recipient of the Excellence in Research Award from the UHM College of Social Sciences (2008-2009 and 2001-2002) and was recently a Senior Visiting Research Scholar at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2010).

Henry I. Mochida has dedicated the past 5 years in filmmaking for social research and planning. He is an award winning filmmaker with experience on over 100 productions with premiers in film festivals around the world. His research interests are on the image in the production of knowledge and in planning theory. He seeks to foster critical thinking and deliberative democracy through planning based filmmaking.

Hao Nguyen in his professional life prior to coming to UH was a researcher at the Institute of Sociology, under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi. His main concerns include issues of urbanization and environment, migration and urban poverty, decentralization, and public spaces and city life in the developing world. He was awarded the Harvard-Yenching Institute’s Scholarship from Harvard University to pursue his doctoral degree in Urban and Regional Planning at UHM.

A Film by the Globalization Research Center, University of Hawai’i, Hen Haus Productions,
Hawai’i , and Redbridge Film and TV, Hanoi. Directed by Mike Douglass
and Henry Mochida with Hao Nguyen, Department of Urban & Regional Planning,
UHM. Funded by the Ford Foundation.

CSEAS thanks Dr. Mike Douglass, Executive Director, Globalization Research Center and Professor, Urban & Regional Planning, University of Hawaii for permission to post this film on our website.

This film was part of a CSEAS Speaker Series presentation on 2/4/2011

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