Vietnamese movie to go to Venice and Toronto

Published: 13/08/2009 05:00



The latest film by director Bui Thac Chuyen, “Choi Voi” was invited to the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals in September. VnExpress discussed the events with Chuyen.

Hai Yen and Duy Khoa in a scene from “Lonely”.

Q: How do you feel about your movie “Lonely” being the first big-screen film of Vietnam invited to the Venice Film Festival?

Chuyen: Venice is one of the most well-known film festivals on the planet. It is a great honour for any filmmaker to have a movie screened at a big film festival like Venice.

“Lonely” tells the story of newlyweds Hai and Duyen, the complicated love between Duyen and Cam, her close girlfriend, and the carnal passion between Duyen and Tho, a sexually attractive man.

It features People’s Artist Nhu Quynh, Vietnamese-French actress Pham Linh Dan, Hai Yen, Johnny Tri Nguyen, and Duy Khoa, who won the Promising Singer award at the 2008 Sao Mai – Diem Hen (Morning Star – Rendezvous) contest.

“Lonely” will be screened nationwide at the end of the year and take part in film festivals in Toronto, Vancouver, and London.

Last year “Khi toi 20” (When I am 20), directed by Phan Dang Di, who wrote the script for “Lonely”, was invited to compete in the “Short film” section at the Venice festival.

The works that are brought to Venice are products of big movie industries in both financial aspects and fame. Briefly, under the market rules, the world entertainment industry needs markets and standardised brands for each kind of good. Film festivals are established to serve this purpose. Being chosen for a film festival is a way to measure the quality of a movie and the movie industry of the country that movie represents.

I have learned many things since I was invited to this film festival.

Q: What are they?

Chuyen: The organising board will only pay for three days in hotels for the directors and leading actors. All guests in Venice will have to pay other expenditures themselves and for other tasks related to their movie, for example making Italian subtitles and transportation.

If we participate in all ten days of the festival, each member will spend around Eur4000 (97 million dong). For a director like me, who earned around 70 million dong for two years producing “Lonely”, that sum is a big question mark.

Our market system and movie industry are still inappropriate to big film festivals. Now I understand why our football teams are afraid of attending the Asian C1 Cup and they often lose.

Q: What do you think about your rivals?

I don’t care! The nature of a film festival is to appreciate and discover the most special of the contemporary movies in the world. Invited films can be proud that they are something special. For big film festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin or Tokyo, invited movies must be new ones.

Hai Yen (standing) and Linh Dan in “Lonely”.

Film festivals are not struggles. They are competitions, but not struggles, so I have no conception about rivals there. I’m happy because if I go there, I will know about new and special things in movies from throughout the whole world. And I’m honoured to be the representative for Vietnam, contributing something special of Vietnam to a big game of the world’s movies in Venice.

Q: Which actors in “Lonely” will go to Venice with you?

Chuyen: I hope many actors can join this festival. Perhaps I will go with Hai Yen and Linh Dan.

Q: Could you reveal your schedule?

Chuyen: We will go to Venice on September 5. “Lonely” will be presented on September 6. We will stay in Venice until September 12 and then leave for the Toronto International Film Festival. This is also one of the biggest and most important film festivals in the world. “Lonely” has been chosen for its Contemporary World Cinema programme.


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