Over the past decade, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival has spotlighted the Viet Wave — the current movement of Vietnamese American filmmakers who have returned to the motherland to build the booming, local entertainment industry. From Timothy Linh Bui's GREEN DRAGON (Festival 2001), to Ham Tran's JOURNEY FROM THE FALL (Festival 2006), to Charlie Nguyen's THE REBEL (Festival 2007), the Festival has presented the very best from the Viet Wave. Victor Vu, raised in Los Angeles, is currently the most prolific and successful of these directors. His previous film, the zany romantic comedy BATTLE OF THE BRIDES, broke box-office records last year.
BLOOD LETTER, his latest film, is an ambitious and sprawling stab at kiem hiep (Vietnamese for sword fighting genre). Adapted from a popular novel by Bui Anh Tan, the film begins with the Le Chi Vien massacre, leaving a young boy as the only survivor of the Nguyen Trai family, who is found by a monk. He raises this child and trains him in martial arts. The boy becomes an adult with great fighting skills, as well as a new name, Tran Nguyen Vu. After he is told of his family's history, Nguyen Vu sets out on a vengeful journey to clear his family's name. Along his mission, he meets another seeking revenge -- Hoa Xuan, a sword-wielding female martial artist. They decide to join forces and seek revenge against the very ones that framed them for crimes they didn't commit: The royal family!
Shot throughout Vietnam, BLOOD LETTER is one of the most beautifully lensed films to come out of Vietnam, with breathtaking shots of crystal clear lakes and green, majestic mountains, showcasing the very beauty of Vietnam. The fight choreography, which is top-notch, was designed and directed by action star Johnny Tri Nguyen (THE REBEL, CLASH). The result is Vietnam's very first kiem hiep film. BLOOD LETTER was released during the recent Tet holidays (Vietnamese Lunar New Year), where it packed movie theaters for weeks and presented Vietnam in a new light to the locals: Where sword play is abundant, historic costumes are opulent, and the main characters are stoic and heroic.
Synopsis written by: Anderson Le