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Top contenders compete at national film festival

Thursday, 23/11/2023 | 10:07:36 [GMT +7] A  A

The movies are made by both State-owned and private studios, and include international-award winners and the current highest-grossing movies.

A still from Hông Hà Nữ Sĩ. Photo courtesy of producer

Sixteen motion pictures are competing for Golden Lotus Awards at the 23rd Việt Nam National Film Festival taking place in Đà Lạt City, the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng.

The movies are made by both State-owned and private studios, and include international-award winners and the current highest-grossing movies.

Tro Tàn Rực Rỡ (Glorious Ashes) by established director Bùi Thạc Chuyên won the top award at the Festival des 3 Continents 2022 in Nantes, France. Based on a novel by popular writer Nguyễn Ngọc Tư, the film unveils relationships between three women and their partners in a southern seaside village.

Prior to Glorious Ashes, Chuyên had created many successful films with rave reviews such as Sống Trong Sợ Hãi (Living in Fear), Chơi Vơi (Adrift) and Lời Nguyền Huyết Ngải (Blood Curse).

His documentary about ordinary people during the COVID-19 pandemic, entitled Không Sợ Hãi (No Fear), won the Silver Kite Award in the Documentary Category of Việt Nam's Golden Kite Awards 2021.

Đất Rừng Phương Nam (Song of the South) directed by Quang Dũng is a strong contender for the award at the festival.

The movie script was adapted from a classic Vietnamese novel with same name written in 1957 by Đoàn Giỏi. Set in post-1945 southern Việt Nam, Đất Rừng Phương Nam tells the story of little boy An's arduous and interesting journey to find his father. An meets people with the Southern characteristics of generosity, simplicity and chivalry in his journey.

Đất Rừng Phương Nam is one the best descriptions of pristine nature and people in the south of Việt Nam in the mid-20th century. Some extracts of the novel are now part of high school curriculums.

Em & Trịnh was shot in Đà Lạt City. Photo courtesy of the producer

In 1997, it was made into an 11-episode TV series titled Đất Phương Nam (Southern Land). Despite financial limitations at the time of filming, the series is still iconic and ages well.

The movie Đất Rừng Phương Nam was made over six years with a crew of popular artists such as Trấn Thành, Hứa Vĩ Văn and musician Đức Trí.

"These actors impressed viewers with their acting in supporting roles," said popular film-maker and former director of Giải Phóng Studio Lê Đức Tiến. "The director uses cinematic language quite excellently, harmonising images, sounds and techniques with diverse camera angles.

"The fight scenes with guns, swords, fire, martial arts and stunts are elaborately and professionally staged, making the movie attractive.

"The movie highlights the regional cultural typical characteristics including chants, lullabies, folk tales and hát bội (traditional singing), showing the pride of the southerners about their land."

It was shot in the southern provinces of An Giang, Sóc Trăng, Đồng Tháp and Cần Thơ, featuring beautiful natural landscapes of the southwestern region, such as a stork garden, floating market, mangroves and large orchards.

The soundtrack is very good including dramatic music. Song of The South at the end of the movie is orchestrated by musician Trí.

The song is performed by a hundred-member choir bringing strong and heroic emotions. The gentle and poignant melody at the end creates a space for the audience to think about the message, depth and beauty of the movie.

Đất Rừng Phương Nam was co-produced with nearly VNĐ100 billion (over US$4 million) by HK Film. It has earned nearly 140 billion, according to boxofficevietnam.com. The movie is being shown in the whole nation with English subtitles.

Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ (Hồng Hà Lady of Letters), Người Vợ Cuối Cùng (The Last Wife) and Đào, Phở và Piano (Peach Blossoms, Phở and Piano) are history-themed movies.

Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ tells the story of female poet Đoàn Thị Điểm at the 18th century. She is best known for version of Đặng Trần Côn's poem Chinh Phụ Ngâm (Lament of A Soldier's Wife) from Han-Chinese characters into Nôm (Vietnamese ideographic).

The movie crew are veterans, including script writer Hồng Ngát, director Nguyễn Đức Việt, and artists Lê Khanh and Trung Anh.

"The movie has historical and literary values," said Vi Kiến Thành, head of Department of Cinematography. "It highlights the ups and downs of the poet in the context of Vietnamese society at the end of the 18th century and her contribution to Vietnamese literature.

Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ and Đào, Phở và Piano are rare movies produced with State-budget funding and competing for the award at the national film festival.

Popular actor Trần Lực filmed in Đào, Phở và Piano. Photo courtesy of the producer

Đào, Phở và Piano by director Phi Tiến Sơn is about a young couple during the 60-day-and-night campaign in late 1946, when Hà Nội residents were responding to President Hồ Chí Minh's appeal for a national resistance war against the French reconquest.

Blockbuster Vietnamese-American director Victor Vũ makes The Last Wife featuring Vietnamese women under the last feudal dynasty in the 19th century. It was shot in the northern mountainous province of Bắc Kan including Ba Bể Lake. The lake is one of the world’s 20 largest freshwater lakes.

The movie's leading actress Kaity Nguyễn won the Best Actress award at the 20th National Film Festival.

Other movies including Nhà Bà Nữ, Em và Trịnh, Hoa Nhài, 9, Con Nhót Mót Chồng, Cô Gái Từ Quá Khứ, Fanti, Kẻ ẩn danh, Mẹ ơi, Bướm đây and Mười: Lời nguyền trở lại will compete for the Golden Lotus awards for best movie, best director, best actor, best actress and supporting actor and actress.

The nine-member panel is chaired by People's Artist director Đào Bá Sơn. The winners will be announced on November 25.

Source: Vietnam News