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A Dream In Hanoi

Twenty five years after the end of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese and Americans join forces in a unique collaboration. Two theater companies, one American and one Vietnamese, come together to stage the first performance in Vietnam of Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. This spirited tale follows the actors, directors, producers and technicians from both countries as they struggle to surmount the huge obstacles of language, culture, ideology, and a history of war on their journey to opening night at Hanoi's famous Opera House.

The film features Vietnam's renowned theater, the Central Dramatic Company of Vietnam, and actors and staff from the Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, Oregon. Music is performed by artists of Vietnam's National Theater of Music and Dance and the Cheo Theater of Hanoi.

A DREAM IN HANOI is the first American documentary about American/Vietnamese relations that does not focus on the Vietnam war or its legacy of human suffering.

'A tremendously moving record of the first collaboration between theater companies from both countries...lovingly crafted.' Ken Eisner, VARIETY

'A treat to behold.' Jonathan Curiel, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

'A hilarious study in miscommunication.' Vicky Elliott, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

'Hilarious and illuminating...' Cassandra Braun, CONTRA COSTA SUNDAY TIMES

'One of those documentaries that greatly surpasses the promise of its subject matter.' Bruce Newman, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

'(Weidlinger) allows his subjects to incriminate and venerate themselves in what seem like the right proportions. It's heartening to know that the Vietnamese 'tradition of shyness' and the American tradition (a la MTV's Jackass) of braying for attention can be irksome and endearing -- and, for creative purposes, mutually beneficial.' Jonathan Kiefer, SF WEEKLY

'A rare and fascinating inside look at the making of a small bicultural miracle...swift, sometimes funny and always compelling...' Bob Hicks, THE OREGONIAN

'Fascinating and funny...To say that the two cultures have different artistic approaches would be quite an understatement....Their squabbling, however, makes for a very entertaining documentary, which manages to upstage Shakespeare's classic story.' Steve Rhodes, INTERNET REVIEWS

'The film succeeds due to Weidlinger's brave ability to show everyone in a realistic light...The play comes off beautifully...And we in the audience find our time justified and possibly even well spent.' Jeffrey M. Anderson, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

'Highly entertaining and well-paced...' Emily Russin, SEATTLE WEEKLY

'An unforgettable testament to the power of drama as a tool for overcoming cultural differences...As a theater professional, I found A DREAM IN HANOI an experience of true catharsis. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to learn from the experience of two very different peoples reaching across vast frontiers.' Dominica Borg, Asst. Professor, Theatre Dept., University of Massachusetts--Amherst

'Without trying very hard, the movie speaks volumes about the Pacific Rim culture clash and the pitfalls of any artistic collaboration, and its optimistic conclusion is as profoundly touching as anything you're liable to see in this year's festival. Best Picks of Festival . ' SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER

'What begins with tears of frustration ends with sincere tears of farewell. This experiment in theater was worthwhile; it's twice as worthwhile to watch how it came together.' Richard von Busack, METRO SILICON VALLEY

'Even in the adverse conditions of a language barrier...actors still have the same fundamental struggle: How do I make this character clear to the audience? And--How do I tell this story so that everyone will understand...It is a good exercise in filmmaking, an interesting topic for theatre people, and those interested in learning about other cultures...' Anne Lewis, Associate Professor/Actress, DeSales University, Performing and Fine Arts Dept.

'This is an excellent video for both public and academic libraries. The subject matter is presented in a unique and accessible way...a must see for any library that wants a well-rounded collection of Shakespearean videos, important addition to any library specializing in multicultural studies. Highly Recommended.' Beth A. Kattelman, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Educational Media Reviews Online

'A fascinating study of cultural differences and a testament to the power of friendships that result when people persevere in spite of those differences...heartening...and poignant...' Becky Luening, President, Vietnam Friendship Village Project--US Committee

'A study of how American cultural imperialism can subvert both a classic British text and indigenous Asian culture...With residual tensions from the war always in the background, the F. Murray Abraham--narrated A DREAM IN HANOI offers an interesting contrasting text to James Ivory's Shakespeare Wallah (the seminal film on the Bard's essential universality), providing interesting insights...into incongruities between cultures. Recommended.' Video Librarian

'Entertaining, enlightening...well produced. The pacing is good, the interviews are well selected, and the subtitles are interesting, if not essential...recommended for young teens and older audiences. Theater departments and/or Eastern studies classes would find this particularly useful.' Daniel B. Schuetz, Library Journal

'A rich portrait... Weidlinger's ethnographic presence, an exercise in showing as well as telling, makes this film far superior to some other treatments of young westerners working in Asia... A Dream in Hanoi would enhance any college-level discussion of cross-cultural experiences and how culture and linguistics affects communication. It could also be used effectively in a high school humanities curriculum, exposing students to Vietnam and the Vietnamese while teaching them about the complexities of producing a Shakespeare play.' Asian Educational Media Service, News and Reviews


Main credits

Weidlinger, Tom (film producer)
Weidlinger, Tom (screenwriter)
Weidlinger, Tom (film director)
Weidlinger, Tom (director of photography)
Abraham, F. Murray (narrator)

Other credits

Editor, Maureen Gosling; director of photography, Tom Weidlinger.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
Conflict Resolution
Cross Cultural Communication
Multicultural Studies
Performing Arts
War and Peace


Vietnam, Vietnam War, Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Central Dramatic Company of Vietnam, Artists Repertory Theater of Portland; "A Dream In Hanoi"; Bullfrog Films