Children of the Mist

Directed by Hà Lệ Diễm
Film Movement
90 Minutes
Hmong, Vietnamese
Documentary, Asian

In 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 IDFA, Diễm's documentary is a tender portrait of a community on the cusp between tradition and modernity, and one girl tragically stuck in the middle.

Director & Cast

  • Director: Hà Lệ Diễm
  • Starring: Ma Thi Di

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DCTV's Firehouse Cinema New York NY December 16, 2022
Laemmle Claremont 5 Claremont CA January 30, 2023
Laemmle Glendale Glendale CA January 30, 2023
Laemmle Monica 4 Santa Monica CA January 30, 2023




  • "Extraordinary... riveting... first-rate... beautifully presented...."
    Guy Lodge, Variety
  • "[A]n empathetic and moving portrait of a fractured childhood...."
    Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia
  • "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 Daily
  • "[There is] no question about the skillful, artistically effective quality of this film."
    Chris Knipp, Writing: Movies
  • "“Children of the Mist” is an excellent documentary that showcases an appalling phenomenon with brutal realism and through a rather artful approach."
    Panos Kotzathanasis, Asian Movie Pulse
  • "Shattering...thought-provoking...."
    Phuong Le, The Guardian