The 20th Vietnam Film Festival: festivity of ‘the twenties’

Thursday, 2017-11-30 11:13:10
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A scene from the film 'Em Chua 18' by director Le Thanh Son
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NDO – The year 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the Vietnam Film Festival (VFF) of which the ‘young element’ has been the highlight. Most of the artists that were honoured in the movie category at the closing ceremony were young people.

‘Youth’ was the main colour

Among the 16 entries that passed the "filter" of the jury for official competence, nearly half feature very young artists, including ‘12 Chom Sao: Ve Duong Cho Yeu Chay’ (Zodiac 12: Five Steps of Love) by Vu Ngoc Phuong, ‘Cha Cong Con’ (Father and son) by Luong Dinh Dung, ‘Co Ba Sai Gon’ (The Tailor) by Tran Buu Loc – Kay Nguyen, ‘Co Hau Gai’ (The Housemaid) by Derek Nguyen, ‘Dao Cua Dan Ngu Cu’ (The Island of Aliens) by Hong Anh, ‘Nang’ (Sunny) by Dong Dang Giao and ‘Sai Gon Anh Yeu Em’ (Saigon I love you) by Ly Minh Thang.

Other faces, such as Ham Tran, Dustin Nguyen, Dinh Tuan Vu, Phan Gia Nhat Linh, Le Thanh Son, Vu Ngoc Dang and Do Duc Thinh, have become familiar with the public over the last few years, however, they are still at a young age and full of creativity. Therefore, their films are still imbued with a youthful element in terms of both the perspective and narratives.

This was the first time in the history of the festival that State produced films are completely absent. The domestic cinematic playground has temporarily given way to private film production units. The presence of the "giants" in the field of film making, such as Thien Ngan and BHD has gradually become more rare, while more and more small and medium-sized producers (including Skyline Media, Tu Van, Green Film Studio, Thien Phuc and TNA Entertainment) appeared at the festival.

With the aim of conquering domestic audiences, the youthful stories that were made by young people and feature what the young audience likes are the number one priorities. Therefore, the love story of the youth has been the main theme of the films participating in the festival. In order to convey attractive and youthful love, the actors and actresses must be young and beautiful, the episodes must be fast and attractive, and the movies magic must be modern. Although many films were influenced by American and Korean films, the ‘young element’ has brought eye-catching and vivid ‘colours’ to the panorama of Vietnamese cinema this year. That's why Vietnamese movies are more and more prevalent as many of them have set new records in box office revenues, even surpassing Hollywood blockbusters. For example, the film ‘Em chua 18’ (Jailbait) by Le Thanh Son earned VND175 billion from box office revenue, higher than Kong: Skull Island (VND168 billion).

The first time honourees

The youth have been the mainstream of domestic cinema in recent years and many faces who were honoured at the closing ceremony were ‘recruits’ in the true sense of the world. ‘Em Chua 18’ (Jailbait), which won the Golden Lotus Award for best feature film in the 20th Vietnam Film Festival, is the second film by director Le Thanh Son. Two Silver Lotus Awards in the feature film category were awarded to ‘Co Hau Gai’ and ‘Cha Cong Con’. The organising committee also presented individual prizes to Tran Buu Loc – Kay Nguyen (directors of the film Co Ba Sai Gon) and Vu Ngoc Phuong (with 12 Chom Sao: Ve duong cho yeu chay) for their creativity. Despite being the first movies for the very young directors, ‘Cha cong con’ and ‘Co Ba Sai Gon’ left a special impression on both domestic audiences and our international friends. ‘Co Hau Gai’ became the most attractive horror film in Vietnam in 2017, while ‘12 Chom Sao: Ve duong cho yeu chay’ helped Vu Ngoc Phuong to win the best director at the 2016 festival. In addition, ‘Em chua 18’ earned record revenues, becoming the highest-grossing Vietnamese movie to date.

Kaity Nguyen, an overseas Vietnamese girl who is only 18 years old, was awarded the Best Leading Actress Award for her role of Linh Dan. The nine-year-old girl Ha Mi earned the Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie ‘Co Gai Den Tu Hom Qua’ (The Girl from Yesterday). The Best Leading Actor Award went to Quy Binh in ‘Bao Gio Co Yeu Nhau’ (When Will We Love) and the Best Director Award was presented to Vu Ngoc Dang with the film ‘Hotboy Noi Loan 2’ (Lost in Paradise 2).

The 20th Vietnam Film Festival also featured the participation of a large number of foreign artists with an enthusiastic welcome from the audiences and the worthy awards. The romantic horror movie titled ‘Yeu Di Dung So’ (Love, Don’t be afraid) by Stephane Gauger won the most favourite film award. In addition, two members of the crew of the horror film ‘Co Hau Gai’, including Jerome Leroy and Franck Desmoulins, were honoured as the best musicians and the best sound designer at the festival, respectively.

The 2017 festival became the festivity of ‘young people’, a sign of prosperity for the country’s cinema.