Children of the Mist – Director Diễm Hà Lệ

CHILDREN OF THE MIST focuses on a village hidden in the mist-shrouded Northwest Vietnamese mountains resides an indigenous Hmong community, home to 12-year-old Di, part of the first generation of her people with access to formal education. A free spirit, Di happily recounts her experiences to Vietnamese filmmaker Diễm Hà Lệ, who planted herself within Di’s family over the course of three years to  document this unique coming of age. As Di grows older, her carefree childhood gives way to an impulsive and sensitive adolescence, a dangerous temperament for what will happen next; in this insular community, girls must still endure the controversial but accepted tradition of “bride kidnapping.” One night, when the young girl’s parents return home from celebrating the Lunar New Year, they are shocked to find their house is silent: Di has disappeared. Winner of the Best Directing award at I.D.F.A and Shortlisted for the 2023 Academy Awards for Best Feature Documentary,  Diễm Hà Lệ’s documentary, CHILDREN OF THE MIST, is a tender portrait of a community on the cusp between tradition and modernity, and one girl tragically stuck in the middle.


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* 2023 Academy Award for Documentary Best Feature – Shortlist

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About the filmmaker -Hà Lệ Diễm was born in 1991 in Tay ethnic minority group living in the mountains of Northeast Vietnam. She left her hometown to study journalism at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, from where she graduated in 2013. “Children of the Mist” is her first feature documentary film project. She is a “Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Grantee.” 


94% on RottenTomatoes

“…deceptively restrained in its first half, but that leads to a finale that’s raw in its pain and anguish. This is sobering filmmaking that illustrates a terrible injustice and the patriarchal attitudes that keep it thriving.” – Tim Grierson, Paste Magazine

“Extraordinary… riveting… first-rate… beautifully presented….” – Guy Lodge, Variety

“[R]emarkable…quite extraordinary…this is a very special work, illuminating, educational and deeply, profoundly emotional.” – Paddy Mulholland, Spectrum Culture

For a Western audience, Children of the Mist does what a documentary should do. The filmmaker educates and entertains with a profoundly human story about the life of a young woman. Viewers will become invested in what happens to Di and learn about the Hmong tradition along the way.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“Diem’s intimate access and sensitive approach, together with editor Swann Dubus’ keen eye for texture and detail, make for a compelling and eye-opening drama.” — Nikki Baughan, Screen Dail

“Shattering…thought-provoking….” – Phuong Le, The Guardian