Like many young Australians, Shalom Almond has visited Vietnam and fallen in love with its landscapes and its people. In the northern highlands lies the remote town of Sapa which has been transformed by tourism in the last generation. Young girls from the Hmong minority have flocked into the city to sell embroideries and work as tour guides. Shalom befriends four girls aged 9 to 16, returning over the next three years to follow their stories. The girls are savvy and streetwise but painfully aware of their vulnerability and of the heavily restricted choices facing them. The filmmaker also emerges as a character who is aware of her position as a privileged outsider. The result is not so much a document as a dialogue between friends. Almond seeks to bridge the distances between young women, at the same time as she is painfully aware of the gulfs between tourist and local, west and east, observer and observed.
PRODUCER: Shalom Almond, Judi Oehme
DIRECTOR: Shalom Almond