Documentaries lose favour with audiences

Published: 20/06/2011 05:00



In recent years, Vietnamese documentaries, considered to be a strong point in the country’s cinematography industry, have not advanced as well as expected.


In search of lost audiences: A scene from the documentary Le Cai Tang (Digging up the Dead) by Dao Thanh Tung. — File Photo

Although some films have been honoured at domestic and international cinematographic awards ceremonies, many audiences expressed disappointment when they saw Dat Lanh (Cold Land) of director Nguyen Thuoc, Khoang Cach (Distance) of director Tran Phi, Loi Ru Thi Buon (The Lullaby Is Sad) of Nguyen Quy Manh Minh and Mac Van Chung at the third International Festival of Documentary Films last week.

“It’s not the voice-over which should be blamed, but the viewpoint of the film-maker,” said the director and artist Dao Trong Khanh.

The monotonous, incessant voice-overs have become the weak point of Vietnamese documentaries.

Khanh said if the director found it difficult to make attractive real stories about real people, he would be unable to lure an audience.

“The creation and innovation must lie in the thoughts of the film-maker,” Khanh added.

According to Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper, the absence of famous directors like Le Manh Thich, Ngoc Quynh and Tran Van Thuy hurt documentaries.

The new generation, for many reasons, cannot “escape the shade of the older generation, and shine”.

Some people disagree, however, citing as examples the young director Phan Huyen Thu and Dao Thanh Tung as evidence.

Their 26-minute work – Dites-le or Hay Noi (Let’s Talk) – was chosen to be screened with Stephane Gillot’s Pietragalla: Sur la pointe des pieds or Mua Pietragalla: Tren Dau Mui Chan (Dancing on the Top of Foot).

Tung is a name connected closely to many documentaries, which have appeared in recent award seasons.

He has made a strong impression on the audience with Le Cai Tang (Digging up the Dead), a work with the Discovery channel, although the subject was not that unusual.

Tung said the channel asked his team to do field work and work with characters before the script was written.

Thu said she was “splashed with cold water on my face” at a conference on cinematography in Ha Noi last year.

Several colleagues said she should be return to school, after seeing her first works.

But these were works that brought her very first awards and were used as reference materials at several schools.

“The new generation, people with the ability to rise and break through, have met with psychological barriers from their seniors,” the report said.

Foreign works are made using money generally mobilised by the film-makers themselves, and if they want to have money, their film project must convince investors. To sell the work, film-makers’ thoughts and energies are directed on it.

Because most Vietnamese documentaries are made with funds from the government budget, most directors view the film-making as just another job and are not interested in assuming serious responsibility for their films.

“They want the script to be approved easily, so they try to avoid thorny issues,” the report said.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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