Tuesday, 05/03/2024 14:39

Local cinemas want to screen State-funded movies

Actress Anh Đào spends time learning to write Nôm script for her role as poet Đoàn Thị Điểm. Photos courtesy of Hồng Ngát Film Studio

HÀ NỘI — Several provinces and city have asked the Department of Cinematography for a chance to show Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ (Hồng Hà Lady of Letters) at their local cinemas. 

This is a good sign for movies made by State-budget funding like Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ, because these films did not receive budget for distribution. 

The localities include the mountainous northern Lạng Sơn, Hòa Bình and Hải Dương; the central Nghệ An; Central Highland Đắc Lắc and central city of Đà Nẵng. They want to deliver the movie to commercial cinemas. 

Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ was one of two movies made last year with State funds. Both of them are historical themed. The other is Đào, Phở và Piano (Peach Blossom, Phở and Piano) which is one of the most popular movies at National Cinema Centre currently. Its revenue is more than VNĐ10 billion (roughly US$440,000) as of March 2, according to the Department. 

"The department should make good use of this chance," said Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ script writer Nguyễn Thị Hồng Ngát. 

"I think that it is necessary to allow distributors to show these movies in the nation cinemas without contributing all revenue to State-budget. The distributors need to get back some percentage of revenue for covering a screen.

"Plus, financial resource for advertisement and distribution media should be added in total movie making capital. It is a big gap in the State-funded movies distribution and the two mentioned movies above as well. Only with that is it possible to screen the movies in the national cinemas."

Whilst Đào, Phở và Piano's tickets are always sold out, Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ is not quite so lucky despite being a good movie, according to a female audience.

"The script is good and the movie dialogue impresses me with old words," said Hạnh Nguyễn. "Hopefully there will be more movies about history and I think watching historical movies is an easy way to learn history."

The movie depicts the life of female poet Đoàn Thị Điểm in the 18th century Đại Việt Kingdom - an era of upheaval during the Lê Dynasty - Trịnh Lords. 

Born in 1705 at Giai Phạm Village, Văn Giang District in the northern province of Hưng Yên, she was very gifted. She wrote many poems and a collection of legends in Han-Chinese characters. She wrote under the pen name Hồng Hà. 

She was best known for her translation of Đặng Trần Côn's poem Chinh Phụ Ngâm (Lament of A Soldier's Wife) from Han-Chinese characters into Nôm (Vietnamese ideographic). It is a beautiful poem expressing the inner monologue of a wife who goes through loneliness, sadness, fear, desperation and days and nights hoping for her husband to come back. 

Nguyễn Văn Toàn (left) plays the role of Đặng Trần Côn in Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ. 

"Poet Điểm is one of the most popular female poets," said Ngát. "She is not only a poetry talent but represents Vietnamese women with four virtues - diligent work, beauty, proper speech and moral conduct. 

"She lived three centuries away from me but we are both Hưng Yên natives. She is beautiful, intelligent and knowledgeable, but her life is unlucky. Although her life was short, she left not only poems but also good reputation about sacrifice and morality."

The movie also highlights the relationship between the two poets. Đặng Trần Côn not only respected Đoàn Thị Điểm's talents but he also fell in love with her, even though she was ten years older than him. Đoàn Thị Điểm knew that but she did not have the chance to reply to his love because of incidents occurring in her family. 

Two leading roles Đoàn Thị Điểm and Đặng Trần Côn were filmed by young Anh Đào and Nguyễn Văn Toàn. This is the first leading role for Anh Đào although she appears frequently in television series. 

The role demanded much of her time to learn poet Đoàn Thị Điểm's life and learn by heart the poet's poems. Plus, the actress had to learn how to write Nôm script and how to act like a young woman in the 18th century. 

Actor Toàn is a new face of Vietnamese cinema. Like Đào, Toàn also learned to write Nôm script and researched Đặng Trần Côn to play the character over a long period from youth, royal officer and resigning his office and seclude himself in his native village. 

Veteran artists Trung Anh, Lê Khanh and Vĩnh Xương perform their roles well in the movie. 

Hồng Hà Nữ Sĩ is worth watching, praising the life of poet Đoàn Thị Điểm. The production crew include director Nguyễn Đức Việt, cameramen Vũ Quốc Tuấn - Phạm Văn Khuê and musician Trọng Đài. 

The movie is shown with English subtitles at National Film Centre. — VNS

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