Four regions, thirteen episodes, nearly one hundred interviewees and one universal love, Taiwanese original docuseries Queer Asia has finally released its grand finale Mother’s Hands. Directed by the up-and-coming Vietnamese director Truong Minh Quý, a Taipei Film Festival nominee, Mother’s Hands documents the touching interactions between an elderly mother and her gay son, Tu, in Vietnam. Exclusively on Asia’s largest LGBTQ streaming platform GagaOOLala, Mother’s Hands is now available in thirteen Asian countries for FREE along with the twelve other episodes.
Director Truong Minh Quý
Mother Thi is seventy-three years old with four children. She had Tu, her youngest child, at the age of forty when she was married to her second husband. Tu is a homosexual man. Of all her sons, Tu is the only one left unmarried. He often considered getting married with his lesbian friend, but he has always dropped the idea once he thought of the possible outcome of two broken families. In a conservative village relationship, affection or any sensitive topics are things you simply do not talk about. Tu wrote his mother a letter coming out to her when he was young, but it was never delivered. The secret did not surface until 2013 when Thi found the letter accidentally. Talking about love takes practice, little did Tu know that, unlike other members in his family, her mother would love him unconditionally despite his sexuality.
Short and with a hunchback, Thi still walks miles every day to go to the temple just to consult the monks about Tu. Thi had to drop out of school at second grade just so that she could help at her family’s farm. Hands covered with calluses, tanned skin and not quite literate, Thi is just like every traditional mother in Vietnam except when she talks about Tu. Tu’s elder brother told Thi to urge his brother to get married, otherwise Tu would refuse to once he had come out. Thi went to Tu and asked him: “What is coming out?”. When the neighbors call Tu an abnormal “momosexual” she corrects them, “Tu is ‘homosexual’ and he will not marry a woman.” When Tu repeatedly apologized for being gay on Mother’s Hands, Thi expressed that “children deserve to be in love, to make their own judgement and to make their own decisions on how to live their life.”
Thi may not know what coming out means nor have a thorough understanding of homosexuality; she might have even thought of Tu’s homosexuality as part of her karma, but her love for Tu will never change.
Thi visits the temple every day.
Director Truong Minh Quý’s films have been selected in many film festivals around the globe, including Busan International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. Prior to Mother’s Hands, he had participated in Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition in 2014 and stood out in the official selection of Taipei Film Festival’s Future Lights: New Voices from SE Asia in 2017. Truong Minh Quý’s lens may seem slow and quiet but is extremely affectionate. He has turned his camera to many topics, but his works often focus on one recurrent intimate theme ──family memories. Mother’s Hands is no exception.
Mother’s Hands is now available exclusively on GagaOOLala, Asia’s one and only LGBTQ streaming service for FREE. The platform is available in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.