The Seen and Unseen
Trang, a screenwriter in her early career, is commissioned to write a feature film that follows a “commercially successful formula”. The script takes place in present time where Anh, a psychiatric nurse, accidentally travels back to 20 years ago via a television set. Here she tries to save a boy from being victim of a murder case. However, by messing with events in the past, she also alters the future. Getting back to present time, Anh realizes that the present has completely changed.
Trang plans to finish the script after the Luna New Year’s holiday in February 2020, but little does she know that the world around her also experiences vast changes. The COVID-19 outbreak hits Vietnam in January, and as WHO later declares it a global pandemic, like most countries, Vietnam enters a national lockdown. During this period, Trang has to write her screenplay at home, something she has never done before. Slowly, her imagination takes over her reality as she starts seeing the characters and events from her screenplay in her dreams. The border between the world of Trang’s imagination and that around her house is blurred. As Trang spends hours observing the neighborhood from her balcony, sounds and images of the village where she lives become at once an inspiration and obsession for her screenplay, and vice versa.
In May, the Vietnamese government successfully combats the second wave of COVID-19, ending the lockdown. It is also time for Trang to wake up from her daytime dreaming.