Vietnamese woman brings Vietnamese movies to US
10:46′ 25/11/2007 (GMT+7)

Dr. Lan signs on her gift books

VietNamNet Bridge – Cinema critic, Dr. Ngo Phuong Lan, recently went to three states in the US to introduce her book “Modernity and Nationality in Vietnamese Cinema” and attend workshops with the similar themes.

 

“Modernity and Nationality in Vietnamese Cinema” is the first book on Vietnamese cinema in English. It was published this May in Indonesia by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC).

 

NETPAC gathers over 50 famous cinema activists in Asia and Europe, Australia and the US and in 2007 this organisation began to publish books to introduce Asian cinema to the world. Dr. Lan’s book is the first work published by NETPAC.

 

Going to the US with Dr. Lan were Philip Cheah, co-editor of the book, who is Director of the Singapore International Film Festival and Vietnamese Director Pham Nhue Giang, whose Thung lung hoang vang (Deserted Valley) won the FIPRESSCI Award for Promising Asian Director at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2002.

 

The group called on Honolulu, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Deserted Valley was screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival while the book was introduced at the festival press conference.

 

They also attended workshops on Vietnamese movies at Hawaii University, the Washington University in Seattle, Pomona College and famous UCLA University in Los Angeles. Before each workshop, a 20-minute clip containing extracts of some typical Vietnamese films in different periods was introduced, with brief comments on the characteristics of modernity and nationality in Vietnamese cinema.

 

Attendants at these workshops were movie researchers, doctors and professors on Southeast Asian history and culture so they were really interested in Vietnam in general and Vietnamese cinema in particular.

 

Participants often asked about the Vietnamese state’s investment in cinema, film censorship and new trends in Vietnamese cinema.

 

Their doubts about censorship in Vietnam disappeared after they watched an extract from the film Bar Girls and learned it was a state-funded film, Dr. Lan said.

 

(Source: Tien Phong)

 

 

Vietnam’s film industry was still in need of more professional talent, modern technology and support from the Government, film directors said.

Speaking at Vietnamese Films Week, launched by the Institute of Vietnam and France Cultural Exchanges in Ho Chi Minh City on May 17, veteran local director Viet Linh called on the Government and cinema authorities to give more support to the industry.

“Without more financial investment and new policies on film-making, distribution and marketing, our quality films, including award-winning productions, will continue to find it difficult to be screened and make profits,” Linh said.

She said that although the country’s film industry has developed rapidly in recent years, authorities should create stronger regulations that define preferential rights for marketing and screening Vietnamese movies at cinemas.

Linh said the film industries of France and the Republic of Korea had achieved good results because “their government enacted policies to compel cinemas to show more local films instead of only foreign ones.”

Linh’s critically acclaimed films Me Thao Thoi Vang Bong (Glorious Time in Me Thao Village) and Chung Cu (The Tenement House) were serious dramas that won several prizes at local and international film festivals.

In France, Me Thao Thoi Vang Bong, completed in 2002, was shown in cinemas for 12 weeks while Chung Cu is 1999 was released for 14 weeks.

In Vietnam, both films were only shown in cinemas in the major cities of Hanoi and HCM City for only a week. The films were released with little marketing support.

“As a result, many Vietnamese only know about our films through newspapers and magazines,” said Linh, adding that this way of doing business had created an unfair environment for local film makers, particularly those who often produce serious films with an educational goal instead of purely commercial and entertainment driven features.

Overseas Vietnamese director Nguyen Vo Nghiem Minh said he agreed with Linh, and called on cinema owners to give more help to local directors of serious films.

“Working in the movie business requires a different business approach to that of other fields,” said the Vietnamese-American director. “The great value of a film is not only making profits but also introducing aspects of culture.”

Minh’s first film, Mua Len Trau (Buffalo Boy), was produced in 2004 by the HCM City-based film company Giai Phong (Liberation) and its French and Belgian partners.

The film portrays the lives and work of local farmers living in Dong Thap province. It was screened in many countries, including France, Germany and Canada, but it had not been widely screened in Vietnam.

“Many quality films have failed to lure audiences or make profits because they are released in an unprofessional way,” he said.

Linh and Minh also urged cinema authorities to invest more in human resources training in the film sectors as well as in upgrading technology. (VNA)