The Lucky Woman – Tseng Wen-Chen


Why do they run away? This film tells the stories of undocumented Vietnamese laborers in Taiwan after being forced to flee their employers. How will this lifestyle for over a decade shape their lives?


Synopsis of The Lucky Woman

In 2004, Thao Van paid a $8000 US agency fee to come from Vietnam to work in Taiwan. Before her three-year contract expired, she chose to “flee” and became a “runaway migrant worker”. After her escape, Thao Van lost her residence permit and health insurance card. Therefore, she has to work illegally and lived in different places. She is in danger of being “caught” by the police at any time and live a life of fear and anxiety.

Why does Thao Van run away? Is it to earn more money? In pursuit of better job opportunities? This film presents the life situation of “runaway migrant workers” through the accounts of Thao Van and others in similar situations. They put aside their legal work status and take the risk of working illegally. In order to earn a better life for their families and change their future destiny for themselves, they exhaust their youth in Taiwan.

Thao Van returns to Vietnam after staying illegally in Taiwan for fourteen years. Has she got the life she longs for?


1 hour 27 minutes | English & Traditional Chinese subtitles | HD (1920×1080)
Taiwan, Vietnam | 2020
Director: Tseng Wen-Chen
Production Company: Shine Pictures

Awards & Film Festivals

1. Official Selection of New Asian Currents, 2021 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
2. Special Mention Award of Taiwan Competition, 2020 Women Make Waves International Film Festival
3. Official Selection of Taiwan Competition and TIDF Visionary Award, 2022 Taiwan International Documentary Festival
4. Nomination of Human Rights Award, 2020 South Taiwan Film Festival
5. First Prize of 2020 Labor Film Award, Department of Labor of Taipei City Government

Highlight Endorsement

“The Lucky Woman is the most shocking film among the finalists of the TIDF Visionary Award. It delves into the perspective of ‘illegal migrant workers’, subtly presenting the discomfort that the closer the filmmaker/viewer is to the group being filmed, the more they must ‘observe the suffering of others’.”
Tian Han, Filmaholic reviewer

“Thao Van escaped for 4094 days and could be arrested by the police every day. It is not easy for the director to gain her trust and film her for 6 years under such circumstances.”
Mr. Lei, Douban reviewer

Reasons for Recommendation

1. The Lucky Woman has the rating of 7.6 on IMDB.
2. During the escape period, Thao Van kept helping other Vietnamese migrant workers, almost doing the work of the Social Bureau. It can be said that she is an inspiring female role model.
3. Thao Van is a well-known “runaway migrant” in Taiwan’s Vietnamese migrant worker community, so this film is quite representative.

More Info

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