Kuv Leej Niam
Kuv Leej Niam is a 2004 Hmong film, written, directed, and produced by Muas Lis (aka Moua Lee), a Hmong-American director in Minnesota. It is a fictional story that portrays the cultural, economic, and societal struggles faced by an impoverished and orphaned Hmong woman and her son.
|Kuv Leej Niam|
|File:Kuv leej niam.jpg|
|Directed by||Muas Lis|
|Produced by||Muas Lis & Zuag Vaj Lis|
|Written by||Muas Lis|
|Starring||Maiv Neeb Thoj, Vam Yaj, Lis Vaj, Pob Zeb Lis, Npis Thoj, Paj Zaub Vwj, Ntawm Vaj, Vam Lis Thoj, Paj Thoj, Cua Yaj, Lwm Xyooj|
|Music by||Txhaj Faaj|
Golden Path Entertainment
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This story takes place in Laos, in the year 1970. Looj meets up with is friend Npawb Xab to go talk to girls. Npawb Xab takes Looj to talk to a girl he knows. When they reach the fields where the girl works, Npawb Xab introduces Looj to the girl, Nkauj Sua. Npawb Xab leaves them to get to know each other while he goes hunting. As it is just their first interaction, they don't talk much.
Later on, Npawb Xab asks if Looj likes Nkauj Sua even if she is a poor orphan girl. Looj says it isn't a problem for him and that he really likes Nkauj Sua. Looj tells Npawb Xab that he'll come the next day to help her again. Npawb Xab tells him that it'll just be Looj and Nkauj Sua then because he has to go see his girlfriend for a few days.
The next day and the days after that Looj goes to help Nkauj Sua farm in her fields. They get to know each other, they flirt, and they work hard tilling thing fields. They talk about their family and how they are both the only child. They talk about how Nkauj Sua's parents died, and they talk about life.
Looj's mom questions where he's going and why he is going out so much, telling him that he better not be talking to lazy, disrespectful girls but to hard-working and nice girls. Looj tells his mom not to worry. Nkauj Sua has an argument with her aunt about having food to eat and is kicked out to stay in the fields for a few days.
At the fields Looj constantly asks Nkauj Sua about her loneliness in the fields without anyone to accompany and talk with her. Nkauj Sua denies it and assures Looj that nature keeps her company, and this is the life of an orphan and just how she's survived and grown up to be. Later on, Looj eventually spends the night with Nkauj Sua in the fields where she stays.
Looj's parents talk with Looj asking him who the girl is that he is talking to and constantly away with. He tells them it's Nkauj Sua, and they conclude that it is the orphan girl that lives with her aunt and uncle on the outskirts of town. They tell him he doesn't know anything and that he needs to take to respectable, educated girls who have a mother and father, wealth and fame, not some poor orphan girl. They tell Looj that his dad is a colonel and so he has wealth and fame, and that if something were to go wrong and they lose face, they'd have nowhere to go. They tell Looj that he has to listen to what they say.
Looj's mom goes to talk to Nkauj Sua's aunt and yells at her. Looj's mom tells the aunt that she doesn't want Nkauj Sua as a daughter-in-law and she doesn't want them as in-laws. Nkauj Sua's aunt tells the mom that she is offended that she would come to her and yell at her and disrespect her like this when she knew nothing of it. Looj's mom ignores this and tell her to tell Nkauj Sua to stay away from her son, she will never let her son marry Nkauj Sua. She tells Nkauj Sua's aunt to cut it off while she can because if Nkauj Sua comes to her aunt pregnant, they better not come to Looj's parents for help. Looj's mom walks off muttering to herself accusing Nkauj Sua's aunt of not knowing how to raise her niece. Nkauj Sua's aunt mutters under her breath angry that Looj's mom is acting so entitled and rude, as she gets up and tells herself she is going to go break Nkauj Sua's legs for bringing her such misfortune and disrespect.
Nkauj Sua's aunt comes to the field to yell at Nkauj Sua accusing her of stealing food. Nkauj Sua admits that she couldn't eat the food given to her and had to take the other food. The aunt yells at her asking her if she brought Looj here. Nkauj Sua admits that he has been helping her farm. The aunt yells at Nkauj Sua saying that she thought Nkauj Sua was obedient and good but here she was bringing boys to the field to mess around with. She yells at Nkauj Sua threatening her that she better not let him step a foot on her fields ever again. She tells Nkauj Sua that in the future if she comes to her pregnant, she won't help her. She calls Nkauj Sua a stinking female dog and walks away telling her she better works hard in the fields or she won't get anything to eat or a place to stay. Nkauj Sua cries to herself in the fields and wipes her tears as she goes back and works the field.
Looj and Npawb Xab are hunt in the woods and cooking the birds they caught. Npawb Xab asks Looj about his relationship with Nkauj Sua. Looj says that Nkauj Sua is his girlfriend. Npawb Xab asks if they've spent the night together and Looj says they have. Npawb Xan tells him to be careful not to get her pregnant. Looj tells him not to worry. Npawb Xab tells Looj that his parents yelled at him for not staying home and for introducing Looj to the orphan girl. Looj tells Npawb Xab that the old people don't know anything, and to not think too much about it. Npawb Xab says he doesn't mind but warns Looj to not get too in over his head because when problems arise then that's going to be bad. Looj reassures Npawb Xab that if problems arise, he'll make sure it doesn't come back to Npawb Xab. Npawb Xan tells Looj that Nkauj Sua is a good girl and will make a good wife, but his parents probably won't appove. Looj knows this and tells Npawb Xab that any girl that his parents don't like will never be good enough.
Looj and Nkauj Sua sitting in the hut in the fields and Looj asks if Nkauj Sua is pregnant. Nkauj Sua tells him that she is. Looj reassures Nkauj Sua that everything will be alright and they he'll take care of her and the baby. Nkauj Sua says the they've committed a crime and that his parents will never accept her. Looj tells her it doesn't matter and that he will care for her. He asks Nkauj Sua if she loves him, and she responds that if she didn't, she wouldn't have given her body to him. He tells her that he wants to take her to live with him. She says his parents will never let, and Looj replies that it isn't up to them. She walks out to the fields. Looj goes on after her. Nkauj Sua says that he should go home or else there will be more problems. He says why does she say that. Nkauj Sua tells Looj that she is an orphan girl with not name or no wealth no family, and that he comes with fame, wealth, and a notable family, but because of her his name will now be tarnished and people will disrespect him. She tells him to go home and that she'll ask and see what her uncle says. He says that he'll go ask his parents so that they can just be wedded.
There is a musical interlude with Nkauj Sua singing about her orphan life and how she is misfortune to live this life without a mother or father, family or friends to help or love her. She sings about people disrespecting her, calling her names, and being a slave to others.
Looj tells his parents that he knows they don't approve of him marrying Nkauj Sua, but he is going to marry her anyways. His parents adamantly yell at him telling him that he can't and that they've already chosen a wife for him. Looj tells his parents that his will marry Nkauj Sua and that she is pregnant. His parents are shocked and ask how he could bring such misfortune and dishonor to the family. They ask if he is the only guy and suspects that maybe there are other guys seeing her in the fields. Looj reassures them that it's only him. His parents yell at him for being so disobedient and dishonorable. He tells them that she's pregnant and that he just has to marry her. His parents tell him that they want a good, wealthy, and honorable daughter-in-law. Looj tells them that he loves her despite her wealth and background. His parents won't let him marry Nkauj Sua because of her status and background and tells him to never see her again. Looj sticks to his desire to marry and be with Nkauj Sua and asks his parents to listen to his wish this one time because she is the one he loves.
Looj's mom comes to Nkauj Sua in the hut in the fields with a bundle of iron cask money. Looj's parents want Nkauj Sua to take the money to keep quiet about the situation and to get rid of the baby. Nkauj Sua refuses saying that the baby did nothing and that the life of the baby has no price and cannot be bought. Looj's mom tells her that her son will never marry Nkauj Sua and that she doesn't want someone like her in the family because she comes from nothing while they have everything, and everything to lose. Looj's mom says that she'll understand when she has a child. Looj's mom just want the best for Looj and that she doesn't want his life to be in shambles because of Nkauj Sua. Nkauj Sua tells Looj's mom that she will leave Looj, but as for the child, she will raise it all on her own.
Nkauj Sua has a talk with her uncle and aunt. They scold her telling her that they sent her to the fields to work, not to go talk to boys and get pregnant. She's brought dishonor upon their family even when they don't have anything. They tell her that they are kicking her out and sending her to another uncle far off. She begs saying that she doesn't want to leave. She asks for their forgiveness and for them to let her stay. They refuse and are admit on sending her away. Nkauj Sua tells them that they never really loved her. The aunt and uncle are angry and tell her that she better leave and to not talk about such things, because if it wasn't for them she wouldn't be there. Nkauj Sua says okay and for her uncle to only remember how well her parents raised him never letting him starve, want, or need. How her parents worked hard so he'd never have to, how her parents left the house for him and the fields so that he would have something in his name. He gets angry and slaps her face and yells at her accusing her of lying. She cries and eventually leaves.
Nkauj Sua meets her friend and confides in her friend, her struggles and her pregnancy with Looj's child. Her friend empathizes with her and welcomes her into her home.
Nkauj Sua and Looj have a talk about their circumstance. Nkauj sua tells Looj that he should listen to his parents. Looj is perplexed. He asks her if she doesn't love him anymore that is why she doesn't want to do life with him anymore. She tells him that he will be the only one she loves. She tells him that he comes from a good family and that he is blessed and that he shouldn't leave that for her, they just want the best for him. He says that he is happy, and she is the reason. She says that in her life she always wanted a mother and father to yell and love her, and here he has a mom and dad doing just that, and that in the next life maybe she can have good luck and have what he has. He tells her not to cry.
Nkauj Sua leaves her friend's house despite her friends attempt to make her stay. Nkauj Sua says that she'll always remember their generosity, but she'd like to get further away from this town. If she can come back the year after than she'll come back to live with them. Her friends tell her that if she is admit on leaving than good luck to her and for her to be well and to update her if she can. Nkauj Sua wishes her friend the best and for her to meet a loving husband.
As Nkauj Sua is on the road heading off to a new town, Looj runs after her and tells her to wait. Looj asks if Nkauj Sua is really kicking him out of her life like this. Nkauj Sua tells him that she is grateful for meeting him, but sad that they met and fell in live like they did. Looj asks her way she'd saying something like that. He asks if their love had any meaning or worth. She tells him that their love doesn't have any, if it is like this and she doesn't have him, but only heartbreak. He tells her that if she really love him, she'll go back with him now. They can start a new life together with no one to tear them apart. She tells him that it is like his mom says, she doesn't want his life to fall apart because of her. She tells him that his future, name, and wealth in the future should be more important to him. She tells him to let go of her. Looj cries and asks if she really doesn't love him anymore. Nkauj Sua tells him that she doesn't, and that loving him only brings heartache, so why would she love? She tells him to give up and find a new lover. No matter what he says, she's already made up her mind. Looj begs her and tells her that he was ready to give up everything for her, so why must she say this to him? Nkauj Sua tells him that they must think of his parents, family, and friends, and his future so that he can move on. She walks away from him as he gently and heart-breakingly asks her how she could be so mean to him.
Looj as a musical interlude as he sings in the field, wandering aimlessly thinking about Nkauj Sua. He sings about Nkauj Sua and his memories together. He reminisces about being with her in the fields, working and flirting. He misses her voice, her hands, and her body. He asks if she misses him and still thinks about him like how he thinks of her despite how the time has passed.
Two years have passed. Nkauj Sua has her baby and lives her life as she takes care of her child, while on the other hand Looj has married but his wife hasn't been able to conceive a child for him. His mom tells them they need to figure things out or at least get some medicine so his wife can get pregnant. Nkauj Sua is known in her town as the lady that got pregnant by a boyfriend and lives alone caring only for her son.
Ten years have passed now and Nkauj Sua's child is twelve years old helping her in the fields. Looj's mom is telling Looj that his wife still hasn't conceived a baby and that he needs to get a second wife so they can keep the family going. Looj tells her that he won't do it because it'll break his wife's heart and that this was the wife his mom chose too for him, because of her background and wealth. Looj assures his mom that he'll never marry another.
Nkauj Sua's child, Tsheej is minding his own business walking in the village when three boys come to bully him calling him a bastard child. Tsheej gets angry and tackles one of the boys as the others come to gang up on Tsheej. A man sees the boys beating Tsheej up and comes rushing to help him. He asks what happened. The boys say that Tsheej started it, but Tsheej responds that they called him a bastard. The man tells the boys to stop and that it's not fair with it being three to one and for them to go home as he escorts Tsheej home.
Looj talks to his wife inquiring why she has been down these past few days. She tells him that they've been married for a while and she still can't give him any children. She tells him that she won't be hurt if he goes and gets another wife. Looj tells her to not mind his mom and that he only loves her.
The man and Tsheej reach Tsheej's house. The man knows Nkauj Sua and asks if Tsheej is her son. Nkauj Sua asks why he's here. He tells her that he was in the village meeting some family when he saw her sun getting bullied. Nkauj Sua goes into the house with Tsheej and asks the man to come in but he refuses saying that seeing her is enough as he walks away.
The man informs Looj's mom that he saw Nkauj Sua and her son. He tells Looj's mom that the son is pretty big now. Looj's mom talks to herself affirming that Nkauj Sua didn't abort her child. Smiling, happiness showing on her face at this news.
Looj's mom comes to Nkauj Sua's house and meets Tsheej as he is feed the chickens, rubbing his head gently as she tells him he grew up well. Looj's mom meets Nkauj Sua and greets her telling her that it's been a while and that her son grew up well and helps her a lot. Nkauj Sua asks Looj's mom what she wants to say. Looj's mom tells her that she wants Nkauj Sua to give Tsheej to her. Nkauj Sua tells Looj's mom that her life has been sunny for 10 years and now she wants to come and bring shade on her life again. Looj's mom tells her that she understands this is a heavy decision but if she agrees they'll pay her whatever she wants. Nkauj Sua and Looj's mom bicker and argue over Tsheej and Looj's mom threatens that no matter what she will take Tsheej because he is Looj's child and their family.
Looj asks his mom why he would go and do this to Nkauj Sua. His mom tells him that she is just making Nkauj Sua's load lighter. Looj tells her that she can't just go take Tsheej like he's an object to be taken. He asks her how he will face Nkauj Sua now. His mom asks him if he is going to make her beg him so that their family can go on. Looj tells his mom that he knows Nkauj Sua, so he knows that Tsheej is Nkauj Sua's life, and by taking Tsheej she'd be taking Nkauj Sua's life. He begs his mom not to tear Nkauj Sua and Tsheej apart like that. Loojs mom yells at Looj telling him that Tsheej is her grandson and his son, and if he doesn't go take Tsheej then she is going to bring family to take Tsheej away from Nkauj Sua for sure.
Nkauj Sua and Looj meet and talk. Nkauj Sua tells Looj to go back home if he is here to take Tsheej. She asks why he is here when she already decided to leave their love behind. She asked if they are here to ruin her life again. Looj tells her that that isn't what he wants. Nkauj Sua tells Looj that his mom has a bad hear, that she came to Nkauj Sua with money as a knife to kill her child, but she didn't kill him and now that she's seen him, she wants him. They lived in poverty for all these years, and there they were living in luxury. She asks Looj if he ever thought about their well-being, her son and her. She tells Looj that they have been persecuted, yelled at, and disrespected worth dying and he was nowhere to help and defend them. Looj tells her that he didn't come here to take Tsheej away but to tell them to run away because his mom is planning to bring family over to forcibly take Tsheej if she doesn't let Tsheej go. Nkauj Sua accuses Looj of being incapable of being a father, as he is always bending and obeying the orders of his mother.
Nkauj Sua talks to Looj's father begging him to not forcibly take away Tsheej from her. Looj's father tells her that Looj's wife can't have a child and that they want Looj. They don't want to take him by force, but they will. Nkauj Sua tells him that as much as they love Looj, Nkauj Sua love Tsheej just as much. Looj's father tells her to think about what they can offer Tsheej with their wealth and background, compared to what Nkauj Sua can offer Tsheej. He promises that he'll never starve or want. Looj's mom casually strolls in and asks if Nkauj Sua is ready to talk with their family about the matter on Tsheej. Looj's father tells the mother to drop it and to tell their family that they will work it out by themselves. Looj's mom tells him that she will surely get Tsheej. Looj's father tells the mom to drop it and that whatever he says goes. He tells Nkauj Sua to go home and that even if she can't give Tsheej up now, for her to think it over carefully at home.
Nkauj Sua is back home staring off into the distance, crying to herself. Tsheej catches her crying and asks her whats wrong. She tells him nothing is wrong and that she just loves him a lot. Tsheej tells his mom to not cry and that when he gets older, he'll make a big house for them to live in so they won't be poor anymore. Nkauj Sua tells Tsheej that because she is so poor and can't give in anything, she is going to take him to live with people. She tells him that he is going to go live with his father and that he'll have a grandfather and grandmother, and that he won't be poor anymore and that he'll have everything he needs. He asks if she's joking with him. She tells him that he is almost an adult, and so she doesn't want him to have a bad life. He tells her that he only wants to live here with her.
Tsheej and Nkauj Sua are in their house crying as Looj and his family heads over to pick up Tsheej. Tsheej cries and tells his mom that he doesn't want to go. He asks if she loves him and why she is allowing them to take him and why can't she go with him? She tells him that she can't go with him, that they only want him, not her, and for him to make up his mind and go. Cries and tell her he doesn't want to go and that he wants to stay with her. She tells him that if he misses her to take their picture and look at it. She tells him that she will always miss him and think of him and will pray to the heavens that he will have a good life. He weeps and tells her that he's going to miss her and that when he grows up, he'll come and take her to go live with him.
Looj's parents arrive and are ready to take Tsheej to live with them. Nkauj Sua tells the parents that she wants Tsheej to have a family, education, wealth, and a good life. She tells them that she asks only one thing, that they love him fully so that from this day on he'll never long for a mother or father, or long for chicken to eat, or for clothing to wear, so that his misfortune and misery ends here. Looj's father reassures Nkauj Sua that as long as he is alive, he'll never let Tsheej face any of those things. He tells her that what she is doing is very good and that not many mothers can do this and that he is grateful. Looj's mom praises Nkauj Sua's heart for allowing this and asks for Nkauj Sua's forgiveness and for them to forget what has happened in the past between them. Nkauj Sua tells them that she has already forgiven and forgotten what has happened.
They walk to the car and Tsheej cries to his mom telling her he doesn't want to go and that he only wants his mom. Nkauj Sua tells him to go and in a few days, she'll come visit. Tsheej tells her he's going to miss her though. Nkauj Sua tells him that his grandfather and grandmother love him and for him to go and that in a few days he'll soon forget about missing his mom. She cries tells him to stop crying and to go, as pets his head sending him off. Looj's parents encourage Tsheej to go and tells Nkauj Sua that even though Tsheej is going to go live with them, they come back to visit. Nkauj Sua and Tsheej are crying and holding hands when they drive off in the car with Tsheej in the back crying and calling out for his mom as she struggles to run and keep his hand in hers. The story ends with Tsheej crying as the car drives off taking him away further and further from his home and mom, and with Nkauj Sua crying as she watches her son get taken further and further away from her.
- Maiv Neeb Thoj - Nkauj Sua
- Vam Yaj - Tsheej Loj
- Lis Vaj - Looj
- Pob Zeb Lis - Tsheej Me
- Npis Thoj - Npawb Xyooj
- Paj Zaub Vwj
- Ntxawm Vaj - Julie
- Vam Lis Thoj - Looj Txiv
- Paj Thoj
- Cua Yaj - Dablaug
- Lwm Xyooj - Npawb Xab
- Kuv Leej Niam on IMDb
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