22nd Vietnam Film Festival sees bright spots

The 22nd Vietnam Film Festival will be held in the ancient capital city of Hue, the central province of Thua Thien Hue, with the slogan: “Building a Vietnamese film industry rich in national identity, modern and humane.

A scene from the movie 'Khuc mua' by the People's Army Cinema. (Photo via NDO)
A scene from the movie 'Khuc mua' by the People's Army Cinema. (Photo via NDO)

The film festival is a national art and cultural event held to celebrate the National Cultural Conference, contributing to implementing the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress on the country’s development orientation during 2021-2030.

Due to the complicated development of COVID-19 pandemic, the film festival will take place in virtual form, with many programmes and activities held in a simple and economical manner. From the 141 submitted entries, the organising board has selected 127 films from 41 units for the festival including 25 feature films, 56 documentaries, 15 science films, and 31 cartoons.

At this year’s event, documentaries account for a large number of the total. The Central Science and Documentary Film Studio One Member Limited Company sent the most documentaries to the festival, with 24. In addition to the themes of revolutionary wars and historical figures, many documentaries highlighted the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam, making a very strong impression on audiences such as the film ‘Ranh gioi’ (The Boundary) by director Ta Quynh Tu from Documentary and Reportage Centre under Vietnam Television.

Feature films still receive the most interest. Compared to the previous edition of the festival, the number of feature films has decreased. Beside the five films ordered by the State agencies, 20 others were produced by private units, mainly in categories such as psychology, horror and action. Some movies, screened at cinemas, achieved high box office revenue, such as ‘Bo gia’ (Dad! I'm Sorry), ‘Gai gia lam chieu V’ (Camellia Sisters), ‘Mat biec’ (Dreamy Eyes) and ‘Tiec trang mau’ (Blood Moon Party).

Films on wars and the post-war period, which have not been seen at the cinemas, will also feature in the 22nd Vietnam Film Festival. In particular, ‘Con giong’ (A Thunderstorm) by Tran Ngoc Phong, ‘Binh minh do’ (Red Dawn) by Nguyen Thanh Van, ‘Khuc mua’ (The Rain) by Bui Tuan Dung, and ‘Linh chien’ (War Soldier) by Nguyen Manh Ha will all shine.

22nd Vietnam Film Festival sees bright spots ảnh 1

A scene from the film 'Bo gia'

Under the organisers' regulations, the films submitted to this year’s festival must have been licensed between September 11, 2019 and August 15, 2021. It means most of them were produced and published during the COVID-19 pandemic when the cinematic sector faced numerous difficulties, challenges and crises. However, several units and enterprises seized available opportunities and released their movies at the right time. The movie ‘Bo gia’ (by Vu Ngoc Dang and Tran Thanh) achieved revenue of about VND400 billion following only a month of release. It was also introduced abroad in Malaysia, Singapore and the US. Some others also gained high revenue such as ‘Mat biec’ by Victor Vu with VND172 billion in one month, and ‘Tiec trang mau’ by Nguyen Quang Dung with VND177 billion. Notably, the 22nd Vietnam Film Festival will feature the participation of independent film makers with ‘Rom’ and ‘Mien ky uc’ (Memoryland).

This year, in addition to the awards, this year’s film festival will have two new prizes, one for a director with an outstanding debut and another for the feature film with the best cinematography. According to the organising board, there are three directors in the running for the former including Mai Thu Huyen with ‘Kieu’, Nguyen Manh Ha with ‘Linh chien’ and Tran Thanh Huy with ‘Rom’. Director of the Cinematography Department Vi Kien Thanh said this new feature will contribute to recognising and affirming the development of Vietnamese cinema as well as encouraging new talent.

Translated by NDO