I presume the rights have already been optioned or bought, but here’s an ideal source for a very strong, possibly very commercial and perhaps even award-calibre Ziyi Zhang movie that could be theoretically helmed by Ang Lee or Wong Kar Wai. It’s basically an emotional wartime diary, initially serialized in newspapers and recently published in book form, about a real-life North Vietnamese female doctor named Dang Thuy Tram who was killed at age 27 on a Vietnam battlefield in 1970. Seth Mydans‘s Herald Tribune article doesn’t mention the title (weird), but the diary has become a best-seller in Vietnam, and if the right people produced the movie version it would have a potential to be a major emotional journey for Americans also, partly because of the lingering guilt factor over Vietnam. With the right chops, it could become a critics’ darling, an art-house hit and perhaps even an Oscar contender. Mydans’ article describes it as a tale of “love, loneliness and death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.” [Tram], he reports, “was killed in an American assault after serving in a war zone clinic for more than three years. The combination of revolutionary fervor and the vulnerabilities and self-doubts of a too-sensitive young woman might be called ideology with a human face, reminding readers that it was people like them, trapped in a moment of history, who died on their behalf.” The journey of the diary itself, he writes, “has given it a special postwar symbolism for [the Vietnamese]. It was returned to [Tram’s] family just last year by a former American soldier who recovered it” on the battlefield where she died. I don’t disagree with reader Daniel Zelter‘s view that “after Memoirs of a Geisha, Ziyi’s had enough of faking Asian roles different to her own background. But here’s a brilliant idea — why not have a Vietnamese girl play the part?” I mentioned Ziyi mainly because she resembles Dang Thuy Tram’s photograph (scroll down a bit…it’s there), and of course because she’d presumably sell more tickets than a Vietnamese actress would. That sounds coarse, doesn’t it?