Children of the Mist (2021) Movie Script

My friends and I used to find food here
for the pigs. I miss those days.
We stole beans too, remember?
Sure! And cucumbers, too.
We stole a huge one!
In the field over there.
We'd always pass by that farm
and grab a few cucumbers.
We picked up food for the pigs
and ourselves.
So much fun!
This is the highest rock around.
Di, you once told me
you'd never regret being Hmong
even though it's so hard.
When we met, I was
shocked that a little girl like you
understood the danger
that a young woman must face.
I could see your
childhood slipping away.
Does time pass more quickly
in the mountains of North Vietnam?
Do the Hmong people
live a more intense life than we do?
Your hermit-like existence
has been so protected for centuries...
It all began as such a mystery to me.
We grew up in different cultures,
didn't even speak the same language,
but miraculously we became friends.
Sisters even.
I filmed for three years,
always scared
of what would eventually happen...
That I would lose you.
I have dropped it...
Here it is!
Give it to me.
There's another one.
Two more!
One is on the top.
Just take the big ones.
They're all big.
Like this one?
We'll cook it at home.
It looks like real flowers.
Happy New Year!
This is the peach tree!
Dear Ancestors, this meal is for you.
Let's drink now!
How many did you drink, Diem?
One, two, three...
Seven glasses!
Let's catch the bride!
I'll be the bride's sister.
Get off now.
Go away!
What's this game?
We're pretending to kidnap the bride
for Lunar New Year.
How dare you kidnap my sister
in front of me?
I beg your forgiveness.
I'll never forgive you!
Farewell, my child.
Be careful and have a happy life.
We'll visit you
and your new family soon.
It was eating our eggs.
Really? I can't believe it.
I was collecting eggs
and I caught it in the act.
Your dad just caught a huge snake.
Where is it?
He swapped it for a bottle of booze.
Only one bottle for a snake?
What a bad deal!
My bro could sell it for 5 VND.
All the clothes are dyed, right?
I should get a haircut on the way.
You don't need a cut.
- Where's my helmet?
- No idea.
Pick up the squashes
or the pig will eat them.
When the men are drunk,
- they may try to kidnap you.
- I'll run away.
Anyway, you're not Hmong,
so they cannot force you.
You should let Nay kidnap you.
Give it a try.
Just a try?
No, it would be a real bride kidnapping.
If you don't like him, run away.
Or if he has a small one!
You better check the size first.
Just one glass, come on!
Sorry, my wife's not allowed to drink.
She's a Protestant.
He must pay a penalty!
Now that you're married,
you can't flirt with other girls.
You have to make do with your wife.
Let's drink!
Mom and Dad, I wrote these few lines
To tell you I am suffering
Life is a struggle
When you're so poor
No clothes and nothing to eat
But I will keep on studying
I am now far away
Far from all the ones I love
My heart is cold and I feel lost
I miss you every second of the day
I thought nobody was home.
Why is my wife as drunk as a fish?
Why did you close the door?
- It's open.
- The other door?
I'll wake up to light the fire...
I must go to the
People's Committee.
You're too drunk,
just go to the field.
What are you talking about?
You talk to me like shit
even when you're this drunk.
Stop messing around
or you'll finish the work alone.
Aim for the adults, too!
Look at the camera, guys!
Behave yourselves!
My poor dear!
I have an announcement.
Starting next week,
I'll teach you history, not civics.
- Shall we start the class now?
- Yes.
Everybody, take out your books.
"A strong mind is crucial to overcoming
dangers and avoiding temptations."
Good, sit down.
Let's consider the case of this boy
who started to go out,
drink beer and smoke.
Then, he began skipping class
and couldn't get into high school.
He was depressed,
so he started to smoke pot.
- Do you know what pot is?
- No.
No? Are you sure?
- And do you know what opium is?
- Yes.
- Do your families grow poppies?
- No.
You sure?
Raise your hand if you grow poppies.
We do, but I won't raise my hand.
Why? Because it's illegal, right?
The police may catch you.
But if you have any,
don't tell anyone and give me some!
- You don't want to be rich?
- We do!
Making money is good
but you mustn't break the law.
What's the point of being rich
if you end up in jail?
Right! Let's move on to the next case.
Our indigo is bigger than last year,
You're just taking two bundles?
Don't play with the lime.
I'll use it again.
I make indigo for my daughters, Di
and La, as they don't know how to do it.
La is married, but she can't do it?
No, I have to do it for her.
Can I swap one of our chickens
for this white one?
- Which one do you want to swap?
- The red one.
You're stupid! Give them a white one.
Our chicken is much bigger.
Trading your rooster
for this tiny thing!
So young it won't lay eggs.
It isn't that young.
- What's your name?
- Guess.
- Come on...
- I'm shy.
- Tell me.
- You first.
- I told you my name.
- I forgot.
My name's Pang.
Last time you gave me another name!
Tell me your name first.
- My name's Pao.
- Pao?
- What's your name now?
- My name's Di.
- Hello, La.
- Hi, Diem.
Hey! You came to visit grandma.
Don't hug her so tight, you bitch.
My sister La dropped out in 2015.
She was in high school
when she got married?
Yes, she was in her first year.
She was kidnapped by her husband
during the New Year celebration.
That evening, my mother was drunk.
Then she realized
she hadn't seen La for a while.
She asked me where she was.
I thought she had gone back
to boarding school.
After feeding the pig,
I saw mom crying on the phone
and the neighbors told me
my sister had been kidnapped.
I was speechless.
She wanted to have fun,
but it was the end of her childhood.
- Her husband trapped her?
- Yes.
I won't be that naive.
What if it happens to you?
- I don't fear that!
- You should.
How can I work on such a steep hill?
This variety of rice is quite short.
We won't have enough rice to eat.
If you don't work, you won't have rice.
You think your kids will take
care of you? They hate you!
When you're drunk, you just sleep
and leave them alone.
You insult us
and blame us for everything.
But you're always too wasted to work.
The man has no dignity.
Even our son-in-law hates him.
Nobody respects him,
but he still thinks he's the king.
He never lights the fire,
never feeds the pigs...
Can't you talk about something else?
Stop arguing, guys!
So when she fucks someone else,
I shouldn't say anything?
I know you're cheating on me.
How many people
are in your class today?
Where's your red scarf?
What's his name?
- How do you spell it?
- With an S.
- You found the answer?
- Yes.
Who skipped class yesterday?
Four people.
You first.
I went to the hospital.
- You asked for permission?
- Yes.
Who else didn't come yesterday?
- Which village do you live in?
- So Chua, Madam.
I had to look after the buffaloes.
If you miss school for that,
your parents will get a 3 VND fine.
What about you?
I was helping my grandma
harvest her corn field.
I can't accept this excuse.
You have an important exam this year.
You must be focused.
You must study first
and help your parents later.
- It's almost done.
- Let's have a break, my back hurts.
Where can we rest?
There's mud everywhere.
I'll need the whole bamboo.
It'll catch fire!
What kind of girl would you like to be?
What kind of girl?
I don't know.
No idea.
No idea.
What about your studies?
I want to study a lot
and make plenty of money!
And then I'll have many lovers.
Then when you die,
you must carry their dicks forever!
I'm okay with that.
- My glass is still full.
- I don't care.
Drink it up and stop cheating.
Let's go around the table
and everyone must sing.
- I can't sing.
- Then you drink.
- Can I sing in Vietnamese?
- No, just in Hmong.
Your turn now.
Wait a second, it's her turn.
I thought we were a team.
No, either you sing or you drink!
You have to drink four more!
- Sing or drink!
- You know I can't sing.
I would like to marry you
But you treat me like a piece of shit
- Is it okay?
- Yes. Let it go, Diem.
- It's quite heavy.
- I told you it's okay.
It's not too heavy,
the sticks are too long.
This New Year is no fun at all.
My ex is flirting with other girls,
making me jealous.
You threw your clothes everywhere
after partying, Di.
I'm cleaning now.
Hang it up, or the embroidery
will get moldy.
It's been drying for a few days.
You took my necklace?
- What?
- I saw you!
- The one you gave me?
- Yes.
I gave it to my boyfriend.
It's silver! Get it
back or I'll kill you!
Who do you think you are?
You're stupid!
Get it back or you're dead.
Hang up this jacket
and stop acting like a princess.
This guy makes you so horny.
- No, he doesn't.
- I'll kick your ass.
How do you know?
- He brought you back home.
- Who fucking told you that?
I came back with a different guy.
My boyfriend dumped me for another girl.
Are you happy now?
This guy is a fucking rat.
I have never hit on him.
Everybody saw you.
And you trust them?
It's just gossip.
I'll sell you for cheap.
Is that what you want?
Have a sip... It's hot.
All men are bastards.
Nowadays, girls are looking for rich men
with nice cars and big houses.
That's absolutely right.
My boyfriend was not only poor,
but also unfaithful.
Now I don't love him anymore.
Let me tell you.
For National Women's Day,
he went out with another girl.
One day I couldn't go out,
so he asked another girl.
Then I read on Facebook
that he was in love with another girl.
Once I saw a girl on his bike.
And when I posted
his picture on my page,
a girl said he was her lover.
But now I'm free!
I can hit on whoever I want.
What if Di wants to get back with him?
I would beat her to death.
Check this out, Khu.
He wants to get back with me, Diem!
What should I say?
Just say you don't want him back.
I read you his message,
but turn off the camera.
"I don't know what to say.
I'm sorry I dumped you.
Please forgive me and take me back."
The best thing you can do is not reply.
What are you writing, stupid?
I won't answer.
My mother hates him anyway.
Let me see.
I'm mad at him.
Is it Sunday already?
In a week, I'm back at school.
Lunar New Year went by so quickly.
Because we're having fun.
Have fun, but don't cry
if you get kidnapped.
New Year is the season
of bride kidnapping,
and it's allowed.
Mom means that if I'm kidnapped
I must cope on my own.
- You'd get married?
- No!
Only a stupid guy would kidnap me.
If she gets married,
who will feed the pig when I get drunk?
I would cry and hold her back.
She's too young.
- What's a good age?
- Eighteen.
But I'm afraid she doesn't listen to me.
My legs are too short.
Let me get down!
Help me, Diem!
He's just a friend.
You want to see his message?
You deleted the hot ones.
Now boys just use their phones...
- How long have you been waiting here?
- Hours!
- Where have you been all this time?
- It wasn't that long.
Don't follow us.
What did you say?
I'm a decent man.
Before marriage, I'll ask her parents.
I won't kidnap her.
All right.
Where are you, Di?
Come back immediately.
You're in the valley?
Close to Hang Da market?
Are you happy now?
Come back immediately!
What are you doing there?
Where exactly?
Don't listen to him.
Get off his bike right now!
- Do you know who took Di?
- Yes.
Give me his number.
- Do you know where he lives?
- Yes.
I want his number
to make sure he won't sell her.
- Don't worry, he's a friend of mine.
- These kids are terrible!
- You really know his family?
- Yes, they asked me over several times.
- Is he the eldest son?
- No, the youngest.
- His parents are still alive?
- Yes, they are.
Are they rich?
Of course not, they're Hmong!
- What's the boy's name?
- Vang.
- He didn't answer your calls?
- No.
No need to call him back,
I'll do it later.
If you know his family,
I feel more at ease.
She's evil. I wanna smack her face.
You harass her non-stop,
you shouldn't be surprised.
You insult her all day long,
so she wants to take revenge.
Let's go get your daughter back.
I could, but I won't do that.
It's their issue.
As parents, we mustn't get involved.
Don't cry, Diem.
Di got what she deserves.
Don't worry about Di.
Nobody forced her to follow this guy.
Di behaved just like her mother did.
My wife wasn't allowed
to go out after 4pm,
but she sneaked out
and I kidnapped her in a flash!
- Go to sleep.
- I can't sleep. I'm too sad.
My husband's drunk all day.
Nobody will support me now.
Both La and Di are gone.
I'm on my own now.
When I go out drinking nobody
will cook or feed the pigs for me.
Nothing to do but cry.
We're always arguing,
but since you've been gone,
I can't stop crying.
The house is so quiet now.
Tie your belt tight,
don't let him touch you.
I'm home alone.
Your dad was drunk
and insulted me all day.
Yesterday we were arguing
about your clothes and now you're gone!
Keep your clothes on while you sleep.
You must say
you want to sleep in his sister's bed.
Or just sit by the fireplace
and try to stay awake.
Are you about to go to sleep?
Can you hear me, Di?
- Are you Di's brother?
- Yes.
I came to see your parents,
but they're out.
I'll start cooking.
I guess they'll be back soon.
Where are you?
They're here, come back quickly.
- What do you want?
- You know what's happened.
I have nothing to say.
We need to talk, please help me.
All right, let's talk, then.
Why are you giving me tobacco?
Why should I accept it?
Your daughter is now part of my family.
No, she's not.
- We should talk about it.
- There's nothing to talk about.
I want to ask you about the dowry
and the ceremony fees,
then I'll take your
request to my family.
There's nothing wrong.
Drink it!
It's not a commitment.
Let's ask for 2,000 VND for the dowry,
300 VND in presents for Di's relatives,
10kg of chicken, 100kg of pork
and 20 liters of wine.
Come here, stupid.
How much are you asking for?
I'm asking for money from our relatives,
two envelopes...
- Ask for three at least.
- Three envelopes?
Okay, what else?
- 100kg of pork and...
- 10kg of chicken.
- 30 liters of wine and 10kg of chicken?
- No, only 20 liters of wine.
Come back here.
Be careful, don't rush it.
Try to make yourself clear. Don't fuck
it up, like you did for La's wedding.
Let's all have a drink.
I have only got two daughters
and the eldest got married very young.
She's now 17,
and already pregnant
with her second child.
She was married at Di's age
and I cried a lot.
How old is Di now?
Fourteen and a half.
My daughter was married at that age.
My daughter also got married at 14
and I accepted it.
It's always sad
when a daughter leaves home.
My second daughter was sold in China.
I never heard from her again.
Everybody has a drink?
I don't know if the kids
will actually get married,
but thanks for the food anyway.
We'll soon be one family.
I'm sure there are no obstacles.
I also want you to know
that our family's Catholic.
- Don't worry about that.
- It's no big deal, but...
Let's drink to that
and thanks again for the food.
It's not important,
but I wanted to let you know...
I have accepted your wine,
but you must bring the kids here
tomorrow to hear what they want to do.
We aren't against this marriage,
but it must be the kids' decision.
The final decision belongs to the kids.
If our daughter refuses this marriage,
please be understanding.
Be careful on your way back home.
Everything will be okay.
When they're married, you can
visit your daughter at our place.
Just ask for the house
of the Black Hmong family called Thao.
All right.
We would be honored to welcome you.
If my daughter accepts the marriage
I'll visit you for sure.
His father drinks even more than yours,
but you still want to marry him?
I don't want to marry him.
His father is a real alcoholic.
Are you enjoying it?
Stop it, Mom!
One day there and you know it all.
You really picked the perfect guy!
He'll say he loves you
and that he'll do anything for you.
But you mustn't trust him.
- How do you know?
- It's always the same.
Never marry a sweet-talking guy!
He'll beat you up,
just like your father does.
He'll be an alcoholic
and make your life miserable.
Use your head
instead of acting like a bitch.
Do whatever you want,
but don't blame me afterwards.
If your life is miserable,
you must deal with it.
I know.
Anybody home?
Here you are.
- May we come in?
- Please, come in.
Why are you sad? Give me a smile!
Come here, Di.
Smile, for God's sake.
Let's talk about your feelings now.
Vang, come here, son.
We need to know what's in your hearts.
If you want to get married,
I wish you the best.
If you don't,
I would feel sad beyond words.
If you want to get married,
just share a glass of wine.
Then you can live together.
But if you decide to break up,
you must have kind words, Di!
You knew the consequences
when you flirted with Vang.
Now, you must face the music.
It's time to make a decision.
Follow us to your new home.
Just one glass and your union is sealed.
Make up your mind.
You want a punch?
Do whatever you want, I don't care.
Leave me alone, M. Thao!
You think this is funny?
- I'm serious.
- Really? I'll kick your ass.
You broke her camera!
Look, it's broken.
Go away, M. Thao! Get lost!
Ask him to wait a few years.
You're too young and want to study.
If he can't wait,
he should marry someone else.
I want to break up,
not postpone the marriage.
Up to you.
Everybody likes him, but I don't.
No one can choose for you.
I don't want to marry him now, or ever.
It's your decision.
Pour Vang a glass
and explain your choice.
Send them away, Mom,
or I'll hide at school.
- Can we have lunch first?
- No.
Okay, I'm leaving.
Finish your bowls, kids.
Your mother is drunk.
She'll accept the marriage
and your life will be done.
Trust me.
Let's go home,
your teachers are lying.
Your hiding here
is an embarrassment to the family.
She'll follow you
when the guy's family are gone.
They're already gone.
They're waiting just here.
No, they're gone.
Here they are!
I won't let them take Di.
Wait for the head teacher!
Wait here or I'll call the police.
I don't care about the police,
this is my daughter.
Calm down.
Leave my daughter alone!
I guess I did something wrong.
Oh, really?
I'm still a child.
I don't know why I kidnapped her.
It'll prove to be a great move
if she agrees to marry me,
but if she refuses,
I'll feel terrible, because...
It's difficult to explain.
I'd be blessed to have a wife like her.
I don't know
what my future will be if she refuses.
I quit school last year
because my family's poor.
I'm lost. I don't know how it'll end.
Time will tell.
I think Di is in love
with a guy named Su.
Last night, she wrote
sweet nothings to him.
I was sitting next to her
and could read everything.
It made me mad.
I was so angry, I punched a wall.
I hurt my hand.
I lost control.
Come here, Vang.
Excuse me.
Can you speak Vietnamese, madam?
Not much.
As representatives of the school
and of the People's Committee,
we were informed
of Di's marriage proposal.
So we decided to come
and meet both families.
We hope you understand our position.
We apologize if you find this intrusive,
but Di is under the legal age.
The boy, as well.
The Vietnamese law doesn't make
any distinction between ethnic groups.
We're all equal in the eyes of the law.
When I was at his place,
I told Vang I'd go back home today
and stay there.
- You told him?
- Yes.
Di accepted my proposal.
- She said she would live with you?
- I didn't say that, teacher.
I can show you
the message she sent me on Facebook.
She may have sent you a nice message,
but we're talking about your future,
not flirting online.
I just said I would meet him once
just to see what would happen.
You're about to break the law.
You're free to see and love each other,
of course.
We'll never judge you for that.
I'll tell you something, young man.
Your love affair is
none of our business,
but there's a legal age for marriage.
You learned
about these issues at school, right?
In a relationship, you must have
the full consent of your partner.
If you don't respect her,
she'll feel oppressed.
Feelings must be sincere.
You can't force her to love you.
We call that abuse.
Your parents should not allow it.
You're underage, your parents will be
punished if you get married.
Di wants to study until she reaches
the legal age of marriage.
You taught me
about the legal age of marriage.
Girls must be 18 to get married.
I want to continue my studies, anyway.
We're not rejecting you, Vang,
but if you get married now,
you'll be in legal trouble.
Your child won't
get a birth certificate.
We must go back to school.
We'll let you find a solution
by yourselves.
Beat it, man.
I won't go anywhere with you.
Even if they get married,
Di must still live here to go to school.
Vang should go back home for now.
I'm not opposed to this marriage,
but I don't want to
make a rash decision.
After Di completes her studies,
they can decide
if they have a future together.
As a mother,
I feel useless at this point.
Of course they have a future together.
Since things have gone so far,
you should now consider them a couple.
Let's drink to that.
I don't know what to do.
Did Vang drink the "break up" wine?
No, his family told him to refuse
if he's determined to marry me.
I always call him by his family name
to drive him crazy.
Why does mom like him?
His family name? So rude!
He's good-looking.
- Will you come to my house?
- No.
- You don't like me anymore?
- Sure I like you.
I feel like kidnapping a girl.
I'll kidnap Diem, okay?
Yes, kidnap Diem to marry Co!
Can I kidnap you for my son?
- I caught you.
- No, no.
All right, I kidnap Mao.
Come on, daddy!
I need a new mother.
Tonight Diem will sleep with Co
and Di with Vang, okay?
Are you fucking crazy, dad?
So your brother will sleep with Vang
and you sleep with Diem.
Shut up, you're drunk!
Stop talking, I hate you.
I still love you, my daughter.
Come on, let's go.
I'm leaving,
but you must act like an adult, Di.
You can sleep with Diem,
but you can't run away.
Whatever you decide,
you must provide a bed for Vang.
You're a woman, not a man.
Remember that.
You better not run away.
Di, will you sleep with Vang or Diem?
Do you hate me, Diem?
I knew it. I saw your face today.
Why do you hate me?
Because you thought it was a game...
and you fell in a terrible trap.
You never think about the consequences.
I didn't think he was serious.
- And now it's serious?
- Really serious.
I would rather die than marry him.
I'm stupid.
So stupid.
I'm immature.
I'm totally reckless.
I must study and then find a job,
so I can take Mom
to places she has never been.
She's never left our village.
She has no idea
how different life is outside of here.
I want to give her
everything she deserves.
If my brother gets on his bike,
I'll kill him.
Stupid kid.
Is he on the bike?
I told you not to get on his bike.
- Do you feel better today?
- Yes.
- How did it end up?
- I refused to follow him.
- Did he spend the night at your place?
- Yes.
- Why?
- He refused to leave.
I couldn't force him to go.
But he can't stay at your place forever!
Hiding at school was a wise choice.
I suggested it to your classmate Khu,
but she didn't dare do it.
She said running away
would embarrass her parents.
The guy's family would say
she wasn't properly educated.
They follow archaic traditions.
Women must serve
their husband's family...
cooking, cleaning, feeding the animals,
and they're so poor, they can't even buy
medicine for their kids.
You're too young to handle this.
But he refuses
to drink the "break up" wine.
- He didn't drink it yesterday?
- I drank it but he didn't.
Why did he change his mind?
I don't know.
I told him he had no chance with me,
but he wouldn't leave my house.
This morning I finally sent him away,
but he said he'd come back
with his parents.
You must be tactful.
Say you're not ready yet
and that you feel bad about it.
Say it breaks your heart
not to have a future with him.
If you're not tactful,
they'll say you're pretentious.
I haven't said anything rude until now.
This is what you should say...
"I'm not the one for you,
and you deserve to be happy
with someone else.
Please don't be sad.
We can be friends,
but I'll never be your wife."
He'll be devastated,
you must have sympathy for him.
He's sincere, so you should respect him.
Don't trust your teachers.
They want you to finish school,
but they don't care about your future.
You never listen to me.
Who's the mother, you or me?
When you're a mother,
you'll understand.
- Are you on their side?
- Just do whatever you want!
It's always my fault!
I won't talk to you anymore.
You embarrassed us!
I'll run away. The house will be empty
when they arrive.
You're responsible for this mess,
but you don't make
any effort to solve it.
You sat on his bike, nobody forced you.
Yes, that's it! Get lost.
Here you are.
How are you, Miss?
Come here, Di.
Bring her here, Vang.
Tell us what's on your mind.
Don't think too much, just follow us.
If something bothers you,
then tell us.
Vang is great and your family is fine,
but I refuse to get married.
Vang would be a good husband.
Yes, if that's what you want to hear,
but I don't want to get married.
I'm not ready for it, no matter the boy.
If you'd rather keep on studying,
just say it.
Parents shouldn't interfere,
it's not our business.
I won't come with you!
I don't want to go!
I don't want to go.
Leave her alone.
Fuck off!
Let it be, Diem.
I don't love him! Is that clear enough?
Take it easy.
Don't be scared,
your new life is beginning.
Diem, help me!
Do something!
If you want to end it all,
you must share the "break up" wine.
Let's go inside to end it properly.
I won't go with you,
even though you're a good man.
I didn't want to be so direct,
but I have no choice.
I don't love you.
We should both find
someone who makes us happy.
I don't want to be
engaged to you in any way.
I wish I could be a child again!
Let's go.