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[Video] The Beauty of Vietnam Seen With Fresh Eyes

Claire Imler’s new video Vietnam lets viewers experience what it's like to see the country for the first time: from grass brooms swishing warm rain across a tile floor; charcoal flames caressing the underside of a soup-pan filled with diced fish; a lifevest used as a pillow during a midday nap beside the Mekong River to a millipede tickling across a moss-covered boulder.

It's easy for anyone who has lived in Vietnam for any significant amount of time to become jaded by the wondrous scenes unfolding in every direction. Sometimes it takes fresh eyes to remind a person what is so incredible about this place. Imler's short film - made in Hanoi, Saigon and the Mekong Delta during her first trip to Vietnam - does just that through sharp, color-filled shots. 

This past summer Imler ventured to Vietnam with 12 other high school students from Orange County, California as part of a FilmED Academy of the Arts and Peace Works Travel program to make documentaries. She didn't know what to expect from the country but quickly fell in love with the warm people and vibrant environments. 

While recording what would become a film narrating the experiences of a child refugee, Imler tells Saigoneer via email that she did what she has done since she was young: “film everything around me and then edit together when I got back home.” The extra footage became this video, with music provided by Tony Anderson.

A woman trimming chilis in a market; worshipers kneeling at a Cao Dai temple; shirtless factory workers shaping fresh clay into large jars - many of the scenes feature the quotidian aspects of people’s daily lives. Imler said she was initially concerned about the difficulty of filming such intimate scenes without attracting attention or affecting the subjects, but everyone was very open and eager to connect.

Imler is now in her first year of film study at Chapman University in California, honing the skills that will allow her to become a director and cinematographer. In the meantime, she hopes anyone who views Vietnam will be: "inspired to go travel to Vietnam because it is such a beautiful, unique place filled with amazing people!”

Have a look at Claire Imler's short clip on Vietnam below:

[Video via Vimeo user Claire Imler]

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