Vietnamese war films face battle for ratings

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Báo Dân Trí English - 40 month(s) ago 39 readings

Vietnamese war films face battle for ratings

>> Director says Vietnamese films are too unrealistic

>> Director says Vietnamese films are too unrealistic

Vietnamese-produced war films are lacking in veracity and are too message-laden according to playwright Doan Minh Tuan.

A scene from a film portraying the Ho Chi Minh Sea Trail

According to Tuan, most of Vietnam’s war movies just simply recount battles in a boring way. Directors are unable to a produce major fight scenes which combine different aspects of the conflict due to budgetary constraints.

He also denounced the lack of attention to detail in costuming. “A French director involved in the production of the film Dien Bien Phu left the set after he saw the actors and actresses playing soldiers were wearing new clothes. He asked the designers to deliberately weather the costumes to appear more realistic.”

Besides the acting, actors and actresses need to convey a more honest image through basic nods to realism, such as having suntanned skin, in order to underline the harshness of the war.

A truthful and profound script is the foundation to make a good war film, this, however required greater efforts from screenwriters. During the American War, Director and People’s Artist Hai Ninh and playwright Hoang Tich Chi spent five years on fact-finding trips to write the script for the film Days and Nights at Parallel 17.

Ninh said, “Chi and I each rode a bicycle from Hanoi to Vinh Linh District in the central province of Quang Tri on the trips.”

Scriptwriter Doan Minh Tuan spent four years travelling across south western localities, including along a weapon and medicine transport road constructed by 800 female volunteers during the American war to write the script for the television film Legendary 1C. He also visited survivors of the campaign and read all the letters they wrote to him contained additional detail.

Strategy

Director Hai Ninh said, “The theme of war has an important part in our cinema industry. It helps to show the national strength and pride.”

But he noted that Vietnam still lacks a specific and long-term investment strategy for war films, and that war films should be culturally significant artistic works.

Meanwhile, the majority of war films are made by state-owned production companies which face funding shortages when it comes to promotion. “These kinds of films still attract a modest number of spectators, whereas private film companies just spend more on promotion.”

Scriptwriter Doan Minh Tuan also said that war films needed to contain a wider message than simple patriotism, and convey a meaningful story to international viewers.

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