Which Way Is East

Watch Which Way Is East

  • NR
  • 1994
  • 32 min
  • 7.9  (14)

Which Way Is East is a 1994 documentary film directed by and starring sisters Dana and Lynne Sachs. The film documents the sisters' travels through Vietnam during the mid-1990s, years after the traumatic American war that had taken place in the region. The film begins with a portrait of the two sisters: Dana and Lynne Sachs. They are both in their mid-thirties at the time of filming, and their parents are Jewish immigrants to the United States. The sisters seem very different from one another: Dana is a writer and an academic with a Ph.D. and a steady job, while Lynne is a filmmaker and a wandering spirit who has lived in various places around the world. Despite their apparent differences, the sisters are close, and they launch themselves into this trip with a shared sense of curiosity, wonder, and adventure.

The sisters' journey begins in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh, formerly known to Americans as Saigon. They explain that they wanted to come to Vietnam to reconnect with a past that their parents had lived through, but they knew very little about the country when they arrived. They quickly set out to explore, filming each other and asking locals for advice on where to go and what to see.

Over the next two weeks, the sisters travel through the Mekong Delta, the central highlands, and the north of Vietnam, filming intimate portraits of the places they visit, the people they meet, and the things they experience. We see them taking boat rides through rural canals, trying exotic foods, wandering through bustling markets, and interacting with the people they encounter. We also get glimpses of their personal lives, as they share their thoughts and feelings with each other, try to come to terms with their parents' history, and reflect on their own relationship as sisters.

One of the primary focuses of the film is the sisters' encounters with local women. They interview several Vietnamese women, including a midwife and a dressmaker, who share their stories of survival during the war and their feelings about the changes that have taken place in Vietnam since then. The sisters listen attentively, and we see how their conversations with these women deepen their appreciation of the country and its people.

As the film progresses, we see the sisters grow closer to each other and to the people they meet. They laugh, cry, and share deeply personal moments with each other, all while capturing stunning footage of Vietnam's natural beauty, vibrant culture, and complex history. The film ends with the sisters' return to Ho Chi Minh, where they reflect on their journey and what it meant to them.

Which Way Is East is an intimate, touching, and visually stunning documentary that offers a unique perspective on Vietnam and the human connections that can be formed across cultural divides. The film is beautifully shot and edited, and the sisters' warmth and intelligence shine through in every frame. Whether you're interested in Vietnam, sisterhood, or just good documentary filmmaking, this film is well worth a watch.

Which Way Is East is a 1994 documentary with a runtime of 32 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.

Where to Watch Which Way Is East
Which Way Is East is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Which Way Is East for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    32 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (14)