Saturday 14 October 2023


The British Council in Viet Nam is pleased to introduce Dust & Metal, a creative documentary feature film by British director Esther Johnson, produced by Johnson and Live Cinema UK and funded by the British Council.

Created by a unique partnership between Hanoi-based Vietnam Film Institute, and TPD: The Centre for Assistance and Development of Movie Talents, Dust & Metal has participated in many international film festivals, after a successful UK premiere at Sheffield Docfest in 2022. The Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city events are the two first cine-concerts with Xo Xinh’s live performance in Viet Nam this October and also part of the British Council’s UK/Viet Nam Season 2023, which commemorates 50 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Viet Nam and the 30th anniversary of the British Council’s presence in Viet Nam.

Donna McGowan, Director Viet Nam, British Council, said: ‘The British Council is excited to continue to contribute to the development of Viet Nam’s arts and culture by bringing together the most accomplished creative leaders from both countries, to co-create innovative and thought-provoking projects across our two themes of Climate and the Environment and Shared Heritage. . The UK/ Viet Nam Season offers a platform for cultural exchange and creative collaborations and provides a foundation for the creation of lasting partnerships for long-term impact and mutual benefit.’

Presenting stories of ‘freedom’ in Viet Nam’s past and present, told through the lens of the country’s ubiquitous mode of transport: the motorbike, Dust & Metal celebrates, and shares UK-Viet Nam cultural heritage while presenting to the audience a unique archive work illuminating a history of the country. The script integrates extracts from oral history interviews Johnson made with eminent Vietnamese filmmaker Trần Văn Thủy; and with visual artist Đặng Ái Việt. The sound design is by Nhung Nguyen, a Hanoi-based artist.

With a population of almost 99 million people, and 45 million registered motorbikes (amongst the highest in Southeast Asia) that’s almost one bike for every two people. The country’s urban roads are awash with the transportation of goods of all types and sizes on the back of motorbikes, including washing machines, entire families, and chickens. The sounds of engines and horns create a symphony of Vietnamese life. A symbol of Viet Nam and its history, motorbikes encompass notions of work, class, travel, technology, and escape.

Looking back at history, in the 1960-1970s, motorbikes replaced the mass bicycle use - which was crucial for the transportation of supplies during the war in Viet Nam to become the transport of choice nowadays. At present, the country’s urban roads are filled with various forms of two-wheel vehicles which help the people to navigate the “hẻm” alleys that are too narrow for cars. With urban planners aiming to ban petrol/diesel motorbikes by 2030, the waves of traffic of today will become the past.

Details of Dust & Metal cine-concerts in Viet Nam:


20:00 - October 17, 2023
Nguy Nhu Kon Tum Auditorium – 19 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Link for registration here

Ho Chi Minh City

19:30 - October 20, 2023
Nam Thi House, 152 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC

Link for registration here

Notes to Editor

For press enquiries please contact:
Thuy Nguyen
Communications Manager
South-East Asia
British Council
20 Thuy Khue
Viet Nam
T +84 1800 1299

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We do this through our work in arts and culture, education and the English language. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2021–22 we reached 650 million people.

In 2023, the British Council in Viet Nam is marking its 30th anniversary, celebrating our commitment to building connections between the UK and Viet Nam.

About UK/Viet Nam Season

The UK/Viet Nam Season will showcase the best examples of UK–Vietnamese collaborations across the arts, creative industries, higher education, and English. This initiative, which commemorates 50 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Viet Nam and the 30th anniversary of the British Council’s presence in Viet Nam, envisions our future together by forging new partnerships and reinforcing the bonds between the people of both countries.

About Live Cinema UK

Live Cinema UK is a West Yorkshire based arts organisation which disrupts the boundaries of cinema exhibition and transforms the audience experience. Our work includes research, supporting artists and creating cinema events with a cross-platform approach that showcases artistic experimentation, increases audience engagement and sparks cultural change, while celebrating the unparalleled in-person experience.

About TPD (Centre for Assistance and Development of Movie Talents)

TPD was established in 2002 as a non-profit organisation with a sole purpose to assist the development of Vietnam’s cinema. We look forward to contributing to the social development of Vietnam through sponsoring short film projects, creating playgrounds for the young and creative filmmakers and especially generalising audiovisual arts to the youth.