Purchasing foreign film formats prevalent

October 16, 2006

13:00′ 14/10/2006 (GMT+7)

Soạn: HA 924389 gi đến 996 để nhn ảnh này
A scene in Concealing the pangs.

VietNamNet Bridge – There is an increasing trend in Vietnam’s movie industry: movie producers buy formats of foreign films and restage them to make them more suitable for Vietnamese audiences.


Painful lessons with Thai films 

Producing a movie based on a foreign film format is not new among international film producers. The well-known Hong Kong movie, Internal Affairs, was recently turned into The Departed by Hollywood. It is not surprising that The Departed, as an “offspring”, has been regarded as much better than its “mother”. 

Shortages of good scripts for film making would be the main reason for the purchase of movie formats. Quickly getting the idea, Vietnamese film producers have bought a considerable number of film movie formats to restage them, or in other words “Vietnamise” them to meet the demands of Vietnamese audiences. 

Several Thai movies have been bought by Vietnamese film producers such as Vong xoay tinh yeu (The love whirl), Niem dau chon giau (Concealing the pangs) etc. However, if it is usually true in similar cases in other countries that the second entertainment product is better than the original one, the second Vietnamese film product provides a rather different example. 

Critics have said that just watching the second Vietnamese film products without knowing that they were made from foreign originals, one did not even want to watch these films to the end let alone say “thumbs up”. These films have been badly made. Indeed, many differences between Vietnamese culture and the foreign ones were not changed to turn the story into more suitable for Vietnam’s “life”. 

A painful lesson Vietnamese producers have learned from purchasing Thai films is that they will never be able to successfully compete with the overwhelmingly preferred Korean and Chinese soap operas in Vietnam.

Short of budget, carelessly restaging these Vietnamese film versions, Vietnamese movie producers have failed to lure audiences to watch their poor-quality products. 

Western movie formats are nothing without improving the quality 

Recently, a Spanish film format was purchased by Vietnamese film producers. Efforts to seek for new formats made by Vietnamese producers should be encouraged. However, for Vietnamese audiences, Spanish movies are not popular. Doubts have risen on whether these “Vietnamese- Spanish” movies will not run into the troubles the “Vietnamese – Thai” films did. 

The Spanish format is a sitcom movie, which would be new to Vietnamese people and even for those film producers. Nguyen Minh Chung, the director of the Vietnamese version, “The little mother” said that for him, making this kind of film he encountered many difficulties as he did not have any experience with this kind of film. 

Talking about the future of purchasing foreign film formats, many experts have said that there will be more and more of these kinds of films. The reasons given are a lack of good original movie scripts and film producers are driven by the profit they get from advertisements during the time the films are shown. This also helps to explain why these films are still produced even though they are poorly made. 

Vo Tien

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