Vietnam war movies – where if the severity?

Posted On 23/12/2013

For the reason of lacking budget for making movies about wars, many years ago the government has strongly invested 13 billion dongs for a movie of Dien Bien Phu victory anniversary. The movie has been supported with tanks, ammunition, fire arm…but still decried to be “too old”!

Starting with the story of making fire and scenes in war movies, as expressed by director Bui Tuan Dung “To be honest, there is no fire scene in Vietnam movies, even in my movies that I like”, to understand that the audiences still have to wait for such a long time to watch a Vietnam war movie of truly and heroic stature.

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Movie scenes cannot escape from “staging” feature

In the past, the reasons of lacking budget or facilities are often taken to account on the “difficulty” and the “cost” of making war movies. Therefore, for the anniversary of Dien Bien Phu victory, the government did not hesitate to spend up to 13 billion dongs (billion is a luxury number at that time) to have a “worth” war movie. However, when the movie came to cinema, a war of words has exploded between the media and the movie director when the media expressed the terribly disappointment before the “billion” star war but every fire scenes were dummy and the soldiers fighting against French colonial empire must live in hardship in day and night but their clothes remained brand new!

One year ago, the movie Mùi cỏ cháy (The Scent of Burning Grass) has got the honor to be named in the Golden Kite Prize ceremony by Vietnam Cinema Association. The movie revolved around the story about 81 fierce days and nights in Quang Tri Citadel. The movie has got great support from the military. Just heard that Mùi cỏ cháy is about the battle in Quang Tri Citadel in 1972, the Artillery Command, the Army Public Affairs, Tran Quoc Tuan University have “given their hands” to support the movie making team enthusiastically in terms of material resources. For the shooting scenes and exploding scenes on Thach Han River…the movie making team has got great help from the Artillery Command.

However, at release, Mùi cỏ cháy (The Scent of Burning Grass) was still decried to be “old” with small exploding scenes, rubber body floating on rivers or the battle scenes “fully staged”…

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The scenes have not touched to the soul of the audiences – and this is the very essential factor in a war movie.

Referring to Mùi cỏ cháy (The Scent of Burning Grass), the director – Great Artist Nguyen Huu Phan once expressed his opinion “Comparison is lame, but to be honest, when I watched an American movie as Saving Private Ryan, the fire and battle scenes did not come in quantity, and they do not intend to “paint” their war by firearms, bombs or mines. The severity of the war sometimes is in a story, a soldier only”.
Director Nguyen Huu Phan has fully sympathized with the story about Private Ryan. As the two brothers of Ryan have died of war, a platoon was sent into the battle to find Private Ryan at any cost and take him home to…keep the race for their family. In the opinion of director Nguyen Huu Phan, Vietnam war movie are too absorbed in seeking for the majestic, the severity by imaging meanwhile the most severity of a war must be in a specific story, in the specific fate of every person. Sometimes, only the story about two soldiers can make good on the majestic of a war. The selection of a highlight, a story, a character to set off the war is never that easy with Vietnamese directors. Almost movies are criticized to be boring, to be false and to be dorsal for nothing but of that reason.

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The audiences are still waiting for of a true war movie that is heroic and full of emotions from Vietnamese cinema makers.
A scene in the movie Những người viết huyền thoại (The Legend Makers) – “This is not a “worship” movie as other ones”, said Bui Tuan Dung.

Director Bui Tuan Dung has finished the movie Những người viết huyền thoại. The movie has revealed many fire scenes on Facebook. As the expression of director Bui Tuan Dung “Những người viết huyền thoại” mentions to the human being that is called legendary in the world war”. It is expected that Bui Tuan Dung and his movie will find its way to be a different war movie, to seek for severity not only in fire, in bomb but in human – in each fate of the war.


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