Viet­nam hosts film fes­ti­val ahead of Myan­mar

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

VIET­NAM’S glit­terati donned their finest on the red car­pet on Novem­ber 1 for the open­ing of the Hanoi In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, aimed at boost­ing the com­mu­nist na­tion’s lit­tle-known movie in­dus­try.

The Hanoi cel­e­bra­tion starts just ahead of Myan­mar’s own Mem­ory Film Fes­ti­val, held this week­end.

Wel­comed by cheer­ing fans, Viet­nam’s A-lis­ters were joined by film­mak­ers and ac­tors from around the globe in­clud­ing from Rus­sia, In­dia and as far afield as Ghana, all in town for the fourth edi­tion of the fes­ti­val that runs un­til Satur­day.

Some are hop­ing the event will breathe life into Viet­nam’s movie in­dus­try – still in its in­fancy and mostly un­known, even on home soil.

“An event like this, what it does is it bring Viet­namese films into the fore­front of in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion,” pro­ducer Ti­mothy Linh Bui told AFP at the fes­ti­val, where his ro­mance-hor­ror film The House­maid is screen­ing.

“There’s a large ta­lent pool of ac­tors and film­mak­ers so it’s a very ex­cit­ing time to see what takes shape and where it can grow from here.”

This year’s fes­ti­val fea­tures 146 films from more than 40 coun­tries, in­clud­ing a re-re­lease of In­do­chine, filmed in Viet­nam and star­ring French cinema queen Cather­ine Deneuve, who is in town for the event.

But some worry the five-day fes­ti­val won’t be enough to lure in young au­di­ences in Viet­nam, most of whom would rather see the lat­est Hol­ly­wood ac­tion block­buster or Korean ro­mance flick than a Viet­namese art­house movie.

“Hop­ing that the film fes­ti­val will have some sort of mo­men­tum to boost the na­tion’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy is a bit overblown,” said Nguyen Thi Hong Ngat, deputy head of Viet­nam’s Cin­e­matog­ra­phy As­so­ci­a­tion.

Such mo­men­tum has been lack­ing in re­cent years: Though the num­ber of film stu­dios boomed from 63 in 2009 to nearly 400 last year, the num­ber of Viet­namese movies pro­duced has barely notched up, with many stu­dios producing com­mer­cial work in­stead of fea­ture films.

The fes­ti­val will also host a round­table with big­wigs from In­dian cinema, home to the wildly suc­cess­ful Bol­ly­wood in­dus­try – a chance for Viet­nam’s novice in­dus­try to learn from busi­ness vet­er­ans.

But the se­cret to suc­cess is not sim­ply copy­ing a for­mula, but rather en­cour­ag­ing Viet­nam’s film­mak­ers to find their own voices, said In­dian direc­tor Adoor Gopalakr­ish­nan.

“In a coun­try like Viet­nam, they should not fol­low Bol­ly­wood or Hol­ly­wood. That should not be the model,” he said.

Photo: AFP

Mem­bers of South Korean boy band Off Road ar­rive at the Hanoi In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Hanoi on Novem­ber 1.

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