Thursday, 08/02/2018 17:00

New film celebrates 100 years of cải lương

Tradition: Actress Phi Ngoc Anh, winner of the Best Action Actress at Korea Culture & Entertainment Awards in Seoul in 2016, performs in Gao Cho Nuoc Song (Rice Market-River), a film about cai luong (reformed opera), produced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the art form’s first show in 1918. It will be released by Galaxy Film Studio and Ocean Company of HCM City. — Photo courtesy of the producer
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY —  Galaxy Thien Ngan Studio of HCM City, in co-operation with its partner Ocean Company, has launched a new film project on cai luong (reformed opera) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the art form’s first play.

The new production Gao Cho Nuoc Song (Rice Market and River) is about travelling cai luong troupes in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta region. It features the life and career of performers who were farmers and their love of and devotion to cai luong.

The film depicts the beginning of cai luong in Sai Gon (now HCM City) in the 1920s, including facts about the play Gia Long Tau Quoc (King Gia Long Travels to the West), which focused on events before the reign of Nguyen Dynasty in the 1780s.

The play was first staged at Tay Sai Gon Theatre (now HCM City Opera House) on November 16, 1918. It was written by authors Ho Bieu Chanh and Truong Duy Toan, who are recognised as the south’s first contemporary writers.

“Our film features cai luong performers of different generations devoted to preserving and developing this traditional art,” said the film’s director Huynh Tuan Anh.  

The film is based on Cuoi Mua Nhan Sac (The End of Beauty), a short story by female writer Nguyen Ngoc Tu, winner of the ASEAN Literature Awards presented by the Thai Royal Family in 2008.

The work comes from her collection titled Canh Dong Bat Tan (the Endless Field), which helped the writer win the year’s Best Book from the Viet Nam Writers Association in 2006.

“I’m very interested in Tu’s work because her books feature the inner beauty of southern people, particularly women, and their culture and lifestyle,”  Tuan said in an interview with local media before filming.

"I wanted the film to educate and entertain audiences, particularly young people. After watching, I hope they will gain knowledge about southern culture and cai luong in particular.”

Tuan used talented  actors Phi Ngoc Anh and Lanh Thanh to play the leading roles, and asked his staff to learn cai luong singing to perfect their role.

Filming will begin next month. Many scenes will be filmed in Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces, home of cai luong.

Gao Cho Nuoc Song will be in cinemas this summer. —VNS 


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