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Art & Entertainment News Headlines 10/3

HCM City stirs-up interest in South African culture; Local students sketch historic Long Bien bridge; Art show celebrates creativity with do paper; HCM City festival shows beauty of Ao Dai; Japan Cherry blossom festival fascinates local youth

Quang Ninh opens Ba Vang Temple

Tens of thousands of people—Buddhist pilgrims and other visitors—attended a ceremony on March 9 to inaugurate the new Ba Vang Temple in northern Quang Ninh Province.

According to historical documents, Ba Vang Temple dates back to the 13th century, when the Truc Lam Zen School was founded by King Tran Nhan Tong of the Tran Dynasty.

Over time, the temple fell almost completely into ruin, and was not rediscovered until 1987. Shortly after that a small temple was built on the foundation of the ancient site.

In 2007, Venerable Thich Truc Thai Minh of the Yen Tu Zen Monastery was appointed abbot of Ba Vang Temple and tasked with the complete rebuilding of the temple.

The new Ba Vang Temple has a main hall of 3,500 square metres, the largest among Vietnam’s mountaintop Buddhist temples.

The temple is expected to be an attractive new destination for pilgrims and visitors, joining several other Buddhist sites around Quang Ninh province.

Exhibition highlights women’s view

The exhibition ‘A Woman’s view’ offers art lovers an opportunity to contemplate an impressive range of strong, original works by eight well-known women-artists.

Director of the Hanoi Goethe Institute, Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, said this at the exhibition’s opening ceremony at the Goethe Institut in Hanoi on March 7.

She said that women have always been active as artists but they are still less represented and have less visibility in the still male-dominated art world – on an international level and also in Vietnam. “For this reason the Goethe-Institut invited eight women-artists who are already well-known in the contemporary art scene to realize a project of their choice in the framework of an exhibition with the title ‘A Woman’s View’”, she said.

The event, as part of activities to celebrate the International Woment’s Day (March 08), features new works by Dinh Thi Tham Poong, Phi Phi Oanh, Nguyen Thi Chau Giang, Nguyen Huu Tram Kha, Nguyen Thi Chinh Le, Vu Kim Thu and Nguyen Trinh Thi, as well as Maritta Nurmi, who is an artist from Finland.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Suzanne Lecht, the exhibition’s curator said that the exhibition offered space to celebrate and to examine the essence of the female spirit and the ways in which this spirit transmutes into art.

“Many of the artworks in this show are memory based – inspired by historical traditions, crafts and rituals and intimate familial musings”, the curator said.

Work ‘The Metaphor’ by artist Tram Kha is seen as a unique example of recollection. It consists of hundreds of x-ray filmstrips woven together to create what appears like a blanket of memory. The feminine construct of story telling is subtle, for while it seems that so much is being revealed through the x-ray images, so much remains eerily absent.

The artist Tram Kha shared that the x-ray films feature inner parts of the body, which is secret to humans, for this reason she selected the x-ray films as the material for her work.

Maritta Nurmi’s work also attracted many visitors. Suzanne Lecht said, “The work suggest that just as her clay vessel, the artist has emerged from a trial by fire, strong and fragile, sad and joyous with all her aspirations intact”.

“The exhibition’s works made a strong impression on me” - according to Minh, a visitor, “It is also a meaningful gift for women on the occasion of celebrating International Womens’ Day”.

As a closing event of the exhibition, short films on women by filmmakers of Hanoi DocLab, moderated by Nguyen Trinh Thi will be presented on March 23.

Suoi Tien Park opens modern recreation center

The Suoi Tien Cultural Park in Ho Chi Minh City opened a modern recreation center for children on March 8.

This center covers an area of 15,000 square meters costing VND 20 billion. It has a game area, souvenir shop and food court with Vietnamese and European cuisine.

Suoi Tien Park will use modern entertainment games up to East South Asia and international standard with a total investment of over VND 170 billion in 2014, said Deputy General Director of Suoi Tien Culture Park Huynh Dong Tuan.

Le Chan Festival commemorates Hai Phong founder

A festival was held on March 8 in the northern port city of Hai Phong in memory of female general Le Chan, who is credited with having founded the city nearly 2000 years ago.

In addition to traditional rituals in honour of Le Chan, the festival features a wide range of cultural and artistic activities, all taking place in the square in central Hai Phong that bears her name.

Despite the drizzle, many local residents and visitors from other localities attended the festival to pay respects to the female general, who is considered the guardian of Hai Phong City.

General Le Chan is believed to have established An Bien Village, the original name of present-day Hai Phong.

She also mobilised the local people to join the two Trung sisters, who led a rebellion against the Han Chinese invaders in 40 BC.

Preserving Duong Lam ancient village

The Hanoi municipal People’s Committee has unveiled a plan to preserve and uphold the traditional values of Duong Lam ancient village in Son Tay town.

Under the plan, Duong Lam village – a natural heritage site – will be preserved in a bid to maintain its original architecture and intangible values.

It is part of a wider  modern urban development scheme, focusing on infrastructure, tourism, local economic development, and environmental protection.

Target areas include Mong Phu, Dong Sang, Cam Thịnh, Doai Giap and Cam Lam hamlets, and part of a rice field in Duong Lam commune, covering more than 164ha in total.

Priority will also be given to protecting local residents’  ancient houses and lifestyles.

Hanoi will develop prioritized projects calling for the participation of all economic sectors to preserve the village in the event of urbanization.

The Chairman of the Son Tay Town People’s Committee, Dang Vu Nhat Thang, emphasized that Duong Lam ancient village is the first of its kind to be recognised as a national heritage site and have a zoning plan to preserve and uphold local traditions.

The scheme was officially approved on March 7 after seven years conducting research and discussions.

Local students sketch historic Long Bien bridge


Students from the University of Architecture in Hanoi on March 9 took the day to sketch the cantilever Long Bien Bridge, which has stood as a prominent feature of Hanoi’s image for over 100 years.

Most students gathered at the central basin of Red River where Long Bien Bridge spans across to capture the best image in their artwork.

The would-be architects showed their keen interest in exploring the unique beauty of ancient architecture applied on Long Bien Bridge.

The best works will be selected for display at an exhibition in Hanoi in the coming time.

Long Bien Bridge, 2,290m long, was built between 1899 and 1902 by the French, and opened to traffic in 1903. Over the past 100 years, the steel structure has had a strong association with Hanoi’s trials and tribulations and witnessed many historical events.

Spanning three centuries and suffering war wounds, the bridge has still stood the test of time, linking the two banks of the Hong (Red) River.

Art show celebrates creativity with do paper

Various contemporary art forms inspired by the Vietnamese do (poonah) paper were on display in Hanoi on March 9 in celebration of the traditional material.

Titled Vu Dieu Cua Giay (The Dance of Paper), the event brought together calligrapher Le Quoc Viet; a group of artists including Duong Linh, Huy An, Tien Quang, Yoyo and Tran Hien who displayed an art installation on do paper; and artisan Nguyen Van Tam who showed traditional skills of making do paper.

Plenty of handmade products made from do paper was also introduced at the event, which was organised by Zo Project, a non-governmental organisation.

Poonah paper has been used to paint or write, as seen in the renowned Dong Ho paintings, calligraphy and water colour paintings or for documenting about past dynasties and family annals.

Poonah paper comes from the bark of the poonah trees in northern provinces such as Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Thai Nguyen and Cao Bang.

It takes several complicated and precise processes to make poonah paper, and these include selecting the material, soaking it in water, pounding and flattening poonah pulp into paper and drying it inside the house.

HCM City festival shows beauty of Ao Dai

Ao Dai, the traditional Vietnamese long dress, was introduced to the public in Ho Chi Minh City on March 8-9.

Themed” Ao Dai and Flower”, the  event was part of celebrations to mark International Women’s Day (March 8) and honour the nation’s traditional cultural values.

The festival attracted many famous fashion designers, well-known artists, and a large number of visitors.

Attendees have the chance to enjoy music and dance performances, a fashion show, a photo exhibition on Ao Dai, , an Ao Dai design competition, a beauty pageant, Ao Dai and flower parades, and a puppet show.

A seminar on Vietnamese Ao Dai was held to highlight the value of the traditional dress through the course of history.

The event also set a record for the largest number of people wearing Ao Dai on March 8.

Ao Dai helps Vietnamese women look more elegant and beautiful.

Japan Cherry blossom festival fascinates local youth

People came in droves to see more than 200 fresh Japanese cherry branches on the opening day of the festival in Hanoi on March 8.

The two-day event, sponsored by the Vietnam-Japan Exchange Culture Association, is being held at the Vietnam Exhibition Centre, No148 Giang Vo Street.

Despite light drizzle, visitors to the festival are enthusiastically participating in various activities, including Yosakoi dance, Japanese cuisine, Cosplay performance, Kendo and Aikido traditional martial arts.

Many Japanese folk games such as Kazaguruma (pinwheel paper craft), Take-tonbo (bamboo fly), and Origami (paper folding art) are attracting a great deal of attention as well.

Festival goers have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of beautiful cherry tree arrangements made of silk with unique designs featuring Japan’s beautiful scenery and culture.

Hoang Anh, a student from the Hanoi-based national university, was impressed by traditional Japanese dance, Yosakoi, and cozy atmosphere of the festival.

“This is a good chance for Vietnamese students to get better understanding of cultural identity and natural landscape of Japan,” she said.

HCM City stirs-up interest in South African culture

Ho Chi Minh City is the setting for a unique cocktail show called Animus, opening on March 7, to promote culinary culture between South Africa and Vietnam.

The three-week long event, organised by the South African Consulate General in HCM City, is part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

The Animus cocktail demonstration is taking place at Animus Lounge restaurant with the participation of several famous chefs, including Nguyen Hoang Duc who won golden prizes in domestic and international cooking competitions.

Duc will make more than 300 different cocktails from the four most famous types of South African red wine.

The event aims to help Vietnamese people understand more about cuisine, art and the culture of South Africa.

Last month, the South African Embassy in Hanoi and the South African Consulate General in HCM City co-hosted a seminar and an exchange programme between South African wine exporters and Vietnamese partners.

TV series offers fresh angle on Dien Bien Phu

Audiences can expect to enjoy a new angle on the historical battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 when a new TV series airs next month.

Unlike most other films about Dien Bien Phu that focus on praising its stirring victory, the upcoming series will centre on humanism as well as the private lives of ordinary people who joined the war.

Filming for the 25 episode series titled Duong Len Dien Bien (Road to Dien Bien) started in January.

The series is about a young man who left Ha Noi to fight on the frontline, where he met and fell in love with a beautiful civilian worker. Stories of patriotism, and a love between a man and a woman are all presented through this woeful and majestic love story.

Alongside the Road to Dien Bien, the director of the series, Bui Tuan Dung, had worked on several other war-themed movie productions. The feature Nhung Nguoi Viet Huyen Thoai (The Legend Makers), which he directed, won the Golden Lotus Award at the National Film Festival last October.

"In my opinion, whether the movie is about war or not, it must express the ‘humanism', which can create the value for the movies. In the Road to Dien Bien, the war has been used as a background for the love story. However, their love through the war is different in peace time, and they are bound together through a mutual love for their country," Dung said.

The director also rejected the opinion saying his series is just a propaganda product.

"It doesn't matter what the subject of the movie is, we always want to capture the audiences imagination. In the Road to Dien Bien, we have invested a lot of time and effort to develop the conflict between different characters and create impressive scenes.

"Our crew also focused on music and special effects – two other important elements that perfect a movie production," he said.

Alongside experienced actor Hoang Hai, who also starred in Dung's award-winning The Legend Makers, the upcoming Road to Dien Bien features talented actresses Huyen Trang and Diem Huong, and young actors Manh Truong and Quach Thong.

The crew includes famous cameramen Ly Thai Dung and Vu Quoc Tuan, special effects expert Phan Trong Bich, and designer Vu Anh Tu.

A production of the Viet Nam Film Studio, the series is scheduled to air on VTV1 from the second week of April.

Photos reveal women's diplomatic role

The Southern Viet Nam Women Museum is showcasing 80 photos and other items related to women who made a contribution to diplomacy during the wars in Viet Nam.

The exhibition titled "The Vietnamese Women's Contribution to Diplomacy in the War against France and the USA" was organised to mark the 1,974 anniversary of the Trung Sisters Uprising against Chinese rule, the 104th anniversary of International Women's Day, and the 53rd anniversary of the South Vietnamese Women's Liberation Association.

The exhibition highlights Southern women's participation in resistance wars and offers insights into the resiliency and cleverness of these women, said Nguyen Thi Tham, director of the museum.

Letters and other items from Nguyen Thi Binh, Nguyen Thi Thap, Do Duy Lien, Nguyen Ngoc Dung, Nguyen Thi Chon and several other Vietnamese women show their undaunted spirit and wisdom.

During the wars, Vietnamese women received support from progressive women's organisations in Asia and Africa such as India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Algeria, as well as from Latin America and women in the US.

The exhibition continues until June 30.

Artist vets return to Dien Bien Phu

More than 100 performers and artists will tomorrow join a pilgrimage to Dien Bien Phu, where in May, 1954, the Vietnamese military defeated French colonial troops, ending the domination of the French in Indochina.

The group will include several artists who were members of the military during the historical campaign: composer Hoang Van, writer Ho Phuong, poet Le Kim and military writer Chu Phac.

Starting from Ha Noi, the pilgrims will go along National Highway No 6, which leads to the former resistance zone in the north-west. In fact, the road was used by Vietnamese military troops to reach Dien Bien Phu.

The group will stop in Hoa Binh tomorrow and in Son La on Sunday before heading to the final destination about 480km from the capital.

At both places, the artists will join locals at a special concert and art performance dedicated to the glorious victory of 60 years ago.

The concert will praise the Father of the Revolution, President Ho Chi Minh, and Commander-in-chief of the historical Dien Bien Phu campaign, General Vo Nguyen Giap.

Old songs to be presented by the artists include Ho Keo Phao (The Song of Canon Pulling), Truong Ca Song Lo (Lo River Epic), Tren Doi Him Lam (On the Him Lam Hill), Qua Mien Tay Bac (Through the Westnorthern Region), Giai Phong Dien Bien (Liberate Dien Bien). Mua xoe, a typical dance of the Thai ethnic people living in Dien Bien, will also be staged.

Next Thursday (March 13), the group will arrive in Dien Bien, where they will join in the Hoa Ban Festival, an event dedicated to the rich culture of local region.

The Ha Noi visiting group will also meet up with Dien Bien Phu veterans.

The pilgrimage has been organised by the Viet Nam Union of Literature and Arts Association and the Viet Nam Association of Writers and the Viet Nam Association of Musicians.

According deputy chairman of the literature union, Do Hong Quan, who is a composer of symphonies, this is the first time such a trip has been made.

The union will also host another cultural activity in Son La at the end of this month. Viet Nam's first opera, Co Sao (Ms Sao), featuring revolutionary music by celebrated composer Do Nhuan, will be staged in the northern mountain city on March 25-26.

The opera tells the story Lo Thi Sao, an ethnic Thai woman living in the northeast mountains. Sao, an orphan, suffered injustices at the hands of the ruling colonial powers and became a political activist.

Sao made considerable contributions to the fight for liberation after the historic August revolution in 1945, which led to Viet Nam's independence from France.

The opera was first staged in 1965 and revived in 1976. The most recent performance was in November, 2012.

The upcoming show will be performed by more than 100 musicians from the Viet Nam National Symphony Orchestra and the Viet Nam Theatre of Music, Dance and Song.

Exhibition commemorates historic insurrection

An exhibition to commemorate and celebrate the 130th anniversary of Yen The's Insurrection (1884-2014) was opened on Thursday at the Bac Giang Province's Museum.

The exhibition has on display 50 photos and 70 objects along with many valuable documents related to the insurrection, such as guns, swords, knifes, and pots. Also on display are the clothes related to the insurrection.

The exhibition aims to help people gain a deep insight into the unyielding and heroic spirit of the Vietnamese soldiers in the Yen The Insurrection, as well as instil and strengthen a sense of patriotism and pride in the younger generation for the national historical traditions.

The Yen The Insurrection started on March 16, 1884, in Bac Giang and then spread to the neighbouring provinces of Bac Ninh, Vinh Phuc, Thai Nguyen, and Lang Son. It was first led by Luong Van Nam and later by Hoang Hoa Tham. The insurrection continued for almost 30 years amid hardships and deaths. It is considered as one of the biggest, most enduring, and glorious armed insurrections in the history of Viet Nam.

French film fest to visit four cities

The annual Francophone Film Festival will be organised in Ha Noi, Hue, Vinh, and HCM City from March 11 to 29.

This year it will feature 11 films in various genres, including animation from Belgium, France, Guinea, Luxembourg, Romania, Switzerland, Chad, and Viet Nam.

The foreign movies will be dubbed in Vietnamese and the sole Vietnamese film will be subtitled in French.

The films will be screened from March 11 to 28 at L'Espace in Ha Noi, from March 12 to 29 at Idecaf in HCM City, from March 11 to 28 at the Centre de la Francophonie in Vinh, and from March 14 to 27 at the Centre Culturel Français in Hue.

Tickets cost VND20,000 in Ha Noi and VND30,000 in HCM City, but are free at the other two places.

The festival will be organised by several embassies and the Francophone organisation in Viet Nam. 

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/SGGP/Nhandan


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