At the heart of Laura Nix’s Walk, Run, Cha-Cha (2020) is an earnest immigration story of a Vietnamese couple.
Paul Cao was a young adult when war broke out in his home country of Vietnam, forcing him to leave his girlfriend Millie to seek refuge in the United States. Separated for over six years, the two were reunited in California. Four decades later, Paul and Millie work to redefine their relationship – bridging the divide wrought by time through dance.
The dance floor in Walk, Run, Cha-Cha signifies the never-ending flow of time, and dance itself as an act of reclaiming one’s youth. With a runtime of just twenty minutes, the documentary manages to evoke countless emotions in the most subtle of ways.
Although testimonials are presented through voice-overs, you can feel deep down that something has dried out. When recounting their history, both Paul and Millie seem to be narrating parts of themselves that are long gone: torn between happiness, sentiment and regret.
Even so, the film lends most of its focus to the present. Throughout, we see Paul and Millie practicing on a dance – beat by beat, step by step until they were able to perfect everything for their climactic performance: an ode to their history together.
Walk, Run, Cha-Cha is an impressive insight into one of the most overlooked struggles of immigrants: the redemption of long-lost history. Inspiring and bittersweet, it could be one of the best films about immigrant life in recent memory.