A mother’s attempt at release
Tot is a retiree in her seventies living in the state of Oregon. Charming and charismatic, much of her time is spent preparing her garden for a summer harvest or tending to her feral cats.
Born in Vietnam, Tot came to the United States as a refugee with her three young children nearly 40 years ago. As she now settles into the comfort of her retired life, she begins to reflect on the hardships she endured as a young woman. This includes her experiences living in Saigon during and after the War in Vietnam, and the extreme poverty she experienced after the fall of Saigon in 1975. All of this she has written in a book, and her personal history parallels the broader history of the war.
Though she wrote the book merely for herself, she begins to share her writings for the first time with her filmmaker son, Kevin. This forces her to confront the shame and guilt she feels for things she had to do to survive after the war.
Together with her son, she begins a journey of healing that takes her all the way back to Vietnam -- a country she hadn’t been to since fleeing in a fishing boat while pregnant with him in 1981.