Program Detail


Minh Duc Nguyen / USA / 2011 / 109 min / English, Vietnamese with English subtitles / Color / HDCAM* / San Francisco Premiere


Already the winner of several prizes on the film festival circuit, Minh Duc Nguyen’s Touch chronicles the unexpected relationship that develops between Tam (Porter Lynn), a Vietnamese American manicurist, and
Brendan (John Ruby), a mechanic. No matter how much he washes his hands, Brendan is constantly physically rejected by his wife for the dirt under his nails from work; in an attempt to save his marriage, he begins to visit a nail salon. Moved by his dedication, the salon-worker Tam begins to offer advice in addition to cleaning. Soon, Brendan’s daily trips become more than a mere task to get his hands clean, and are instead fueled by a desire to see and be touched by Tam. Her world, however, is as complex as Brendan’s; she also takes care of her embittered, disabled father, the same man who punished her as a child, and who rejects—yet needs—her touch.

Minh Duc Nguyen, who attended UC Berkeley and is an acclaimed short-story writer, here creates a beautiful, compelling film on the complexities of human expression. For Nguyen, the nail-salon setting provides
insights both culturally specific and utterly universal; it is ”the perfect setting to tell a multicultural story, a place where the Vietnamese workers interact daily with their American customers that come from all walks of life. But the movie also touches on universal themes such as love, loss and the importance of human contact.”

-Clarisse Valera

Co-presenter: Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (3/11, 3/17)


  • Director: Minh Duc Nguyen
  • Producer: Melissa Tong
  • Cinematographer: Morgan Schmidt
  • Cast: Porter Lynn, John Ruby, Long Nguyen, Hiepthi Le


March 11, 2012 6:40 pm
Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Tickets not currently on sale

March 17, 2012 6:30 pm
Camera 3 Cinemas
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