HCM City: a familiar yet challenging subject for movies

Many filmmakers agree that HCM City is a good subject for a film but also acknowledge that it can be challenging to capture the essence of the place well enough to impress audiences.

HCM City: a familiar yet challenging subject for movies
Sài Gòn Trong Cơn Mưa is a rare movie that features the rainy season. — Photo courtesy of nld.com.vn

Ròm and Sài Gòn Trong Cơn Mưa are the latest movies set in HCM City. 

Sài Gòn Trong Cơn Mưa is director Le Minh Hoang’s first film on which he has been working since 2018, according to Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper.

The movie is a story of love and dreams among young people from all over the country who happen to find each other and then lose each other in Sai Gon (former name of HCM City). It is expected to be screened in October.

Many familiar features of the city, including Honda Cub motorcycles, small alleys, old awnings, and rain showers, can be seen in the film.

This is a rare movie that focuses on the rainy season, and is expected to enrich the collection of movies about Sai Gon, experts have said.

Images of a friendly, rustic Sai Gon are featured in another movie called Trời Sáng Rồi, Ta Ngủ Đi Thôi, directed by Chung Chi Cong.

The audience can experience the largest urban area in Vietnam under warm yellow lights at night and the stories of young adults who passionately pursue their dreams and struggle on the path to success.

Old buildings, canals, church corners, Ben Thanh Market and street cafes are some of the images of Trời Sáng Rồi, Ta Ngủ Đi Thôi, together with the catchy indie music used in the movie.

On a different note, while the film Cô Ba Sài Gòn, directed by Tran Buu Loc and Kay Nguyen, chose áo dài (women's long robes) as the main topic to cherish the old Sai Gon, the film Sài Gòn, Anh Yêu Em, directed by Ly Minh Thang, Huynh Lap and La Quoc Hung, makes use of many individual stories that share a common love for the city in which they live.

These two movies have received a lot of positive feedback from audiences.

Other great movies that have been embraced by viewers include Hòn Ngọc Viễn Đông, Hot Boy Nổi Loạn, Thằng Cười, Cô Gái Điếm Và Con Vịt, and Hot Boy Nổi Loạn 2.

 

This July, the movie Ròm is expected to hit theatres. Ròm features stories of poor working people in HCM City. Even though the kids in Ròm live difficult lives, they always strive for their dreams. 

Portraying HCM City

Many professionals believe that as Hanoi and HCM City are landmarks of Vietnam, they deserve notable spots in literary and artistic works.

Even though Sai Gon in particular has been seen in various music, poetry and literary pieces, there aren't many local movies successfully featuring the city.

It might appear to be easy to make a film about the city, but the truth is that the spirit of Sai Gon is hard to depict.

“Movies about Sai Gon require producers to conduct in-depth research and genuinely love this land in order to tell a touching story,” journalist Cat Vu said, adding that Hanoi has Hà Nội Mùa Chim Làm Tổ, but Sai Gon lacks cinematic pieces that live up to the sophisticated but charming Sai Gon.

According to producer and director Ly Minh Thang, Sai Gon has so much to talk about and this has posed challenges for filmmakers. If they are not careful, their movies might come off appearing just as a compilation of things to love about Sai Gon. 

In order to avoid this, his team has focused on the love and warmth behind each story of locals living in Sai Gon. Regardless of their age, the audience can find empathy and have the feeling that Sai Gon belongs to no one in particular, but that everyone has their own spot in this lovely city.

Despite many challenges, filmmakers have stepped up efforts to portray Sai Gon / HCM City in its various colours. The audience has the right to expect local cinemas to produce more quality content about the city in the time to come. VNS 

Independent films struggle in Vietnam

Independent films struggle in Vietnam

Making independent films has long been considered a risky investment in Vietnam. There are obstacles in the production process as well as distribution, according to directors.

Vietnamese film industry begins to diversify, and thrive

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By paying heed to directors on TV and in print media, Le Hong Lam, a prominent film journalist, gained a deeper understanding of the film world.

 
 

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