Vietnamese cinematography witnesses remarkable progress in 2017

Friday, 2018-01-26 10:26:57
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The opening ceremony of the Vietnam Film Festival 2017 in Da Nang city on November 25, 2017 (Photo:
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NDO – Vietnamese cinematography witnessed encouraging progress in 2017, demonstrated through the establishment of a favourable legal framework for the film industry’s development, the industry’s increased integration into the world, and the improvement in Vietnamese movies’ quality.

The launch of a film rating system

On January 1, 2017, the Cinematography Department launched a film rating system, which arranges Vietnamese movies into four labels: P (Suitable for all ages), C13, C16 and C18 (Restricted for audiences aged 13, 16 and 18 years or above, respectively).

The system classifies films by taking into account their suitability for audiences in terms of issues such as sex, violence, profanity, or other forms of mature content.

The labelling of Vietnamese films is seen as an important move in the development of the film industry as there was a lack of clear regulations on censorship before.

The launch of the system has been appreciated by Vietnamese audiences as they can now enjoy the full content of films rated as 18+, which were previously prohibited from being screened or drastically cut due to the films’ sensitive content.

From a film producers’ point of view, the system fuels their creativity in making films on hot and pressing issues in a frank and direct approach.

Opportunity to promote Vietnamese tourism

Hollywood director and screenwriter Jordan Charles Vogt- Roberts (centre, in black) and his staff visited Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province, to prepare for the shooting of his film Kong: Skull Island. (Photo

Another highlight of Vietnamese cinematography in 2017 was that Vietnam was chosen as one of the locations for the filming of Hollywood blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island”. Accordingly, the movie was shot in Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province, Van Long Natural Reserve and Trang An Complex in Ninh Binh, and the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province.

When the film was released, the stunning natural landscapes of Vietnam drew great attention from the audience, opening a huge opportunity for the three localities to develop their tourist products and advertise the country’s image to the world.

The film’s director, Jordan Charles Vogt-Roberts was then appointed as tourism ambassador of Vietnam in the 2017-2020 tenure.

The dominance of private films

The year 2016 also saw the dominance of films produced by private film studios, which could be seen through the 2017 Vietnam Film Festival, as for the first time in the festival’s 47-year history 100% of the films competing in the feature films category were private films.

It is encouraging that the quality of private films has been greatly improved in terms of production, script writing and acting, contributing to changing the opinion of the public, who had a mind-set that the productions were solely for commercial purposes and only contained entertaining factors to lure audiences to the cinema.

Private films also won a big victory in revenue when they hit the screen last year. Prominent among them was ‘Em Chua 18’ (Jailbait), a film by director Le Thanh Son, which earned a record revenue of VND170 billion (US$7.48 million) after it was screened nationwide, making it the highest-grossing Vietnamese movie to date.

The film also overcame 16 other nominees to win the Golden Lotus Award for best feature film in the 2017 Vietnam Film Festival and helped Kaity Nguyen to earn the Best Leading Actress Award.

Activeness in international integration

Head of Vietnam’s Cinematography Department Ngo Phuong Lan (fourth from left) and delegates at an event held on the fringes of the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival in France to introduce the most successful films of Vietnamese cinema to international friends. (Photo:

The Vietnamese film industry officially attended a number of major events and activities on the side lines of major events, such as the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival in France on May 17-22, 2017, which marked the first time that Vietnamese films were introduced at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.

During the event, a Vietnamese booth was set up to introduce the most famous and successful films of Vietnamese cinema as well as the country’s land and people, thus promoting the country as a new destination for blockbusters

On the occasion, the Vietnam Cinematography Department signed a minutes of cooperation with France’s National Centre for Cinema and Moving Image to elevate the close relations between the two countries in the film industry.

Also in the same move to boost the Vietnam film industry’s international integration, the Department launched the ASEAN Film Awards as part of the 2017 Vietnam Film Festival.

The launch of the Awards not only aimed to introduce the best movies of Vietnam and ASEAN countries to the world and strengthen the friendship among the ASEAN community but also marked the first step towards fully establishing the regional film industry.

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