War has a way of annihilating not just individual combatants and civilians caught in the maelstrom, but also the cultural memories of the defeated. Forgotten are what cities and provinces were like after being ravaged and occupied by new regimes. Saigon of the 1960s and early 1970s is one such place. After the Republic of Vietnam was defeated in 1975, many of the city's accomplished and notable citizens fled, were imprisoned, or, necessarily but reluctantly, adapted to entirely different social and political circumstances.
Among those who departed their country of birth, few were as recognizable as the actress and singer Kim Vui, fondly referred to as "the Sophia Loren of Vietnam". From her early work with a government civic action cadre to subsequent nightclub singing engagements and film roles, perhaps no other is so well positioned to tell the story of Saigon's nightlife and burgeoning film scene as the famous actress from Purple Horizon. Kim Vui was a pioneering performer and spokesmodel, the first to appear in a bikini and first to do a nude cinema scene. From contested rural hamlets to stage and on camera, Kim Vui took considerable personal risk throughout her life while blazing a trail in South Vietnam, later helping refugees on Guam, observing violence in Iran, working for change in Africa, and making America her new home.
Love Found and Lost is Kim Vui's story, told in her own words. From her challenging childhood and rise to prominence, to her torrid romance and bitter separation from an American committed to war in her country, Kim Vui candidly describes a place now lost to history and a love that spans continents and lifetimes.