The Men Who Wait

Vietnam, 2021, 15′

by Truong Minh Quý

cast Gérard Thomas, Jean-François Geneste, Souleymane Sanogo

It is a slagheap where men come looking for sex. Each man waits for another like an animal waiting for its hunter. Short encounters. Aren’t encounters beginnings for something more: love? A homeless man wanders around in the same location, looking for water and for a desire unknown even to himself. He is alone – a lone animal. He sees men having sex from afar. Decades ago, too, this place was full of men: miners. Miners who migrated to this country to work in the dark to earn black money and to die sudden deaths.
Among the men who go inside this slagheap to have sex, there are miners’ children and grandchildren.
Generations of men crash on the ground like coal, pretending to be strong, yet so fragile: they are not coal, they are glass. Men finish sex. They have to go. Here is not their home but here is home for these homeless.
Sexual need crushes material need. Mouth needs water. Dick needs dick. Heart needs love. But love is a glass broken without even a touch. He is waiting. He is waiting in this slagheap where decades ago miners tramped around as soldiers marched on battlefields. He migrated to this country too, but from where? From where – it doesn’t matter anymore as he will never return to where he is from.

Truong Minh Quý

Born in 1990 in Buon Ma Thuot, a small city in the Central Highlands area of Vietnam. His hometown and childhood memories serve as an important inspiration for his work. In 2008, he started studying at Ho Chi Minh City College of Cinema and Theatre. In his second year, he quit his study to pursue his career as an independent filmmaker. In 2016, he participated in Berlinale Talents, the Berlin IFF’s talent development programme. In addition, his films have been selected for film festivals and exhibitions such as Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, Busan, Videobrasil and Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin. His fiction film THE TREE HOUSE (2019) was shown at many international film festivals. THE WAITERS (2021) is his latest work, selected for the Berlinale Shorts competition.