Failure of Vietnamese literary film adaptations

The tragic level of box office revenue of most films that have been adapted from books is examined by cinema critic Nguyen Phong Viet.

Low gross revenue does not necessarily reflect the true value of a movie. However, around 90% of the down-market films obviously just attract limited audiences. Many recent low box office movies involved screenplays that have been adapted, borrowed or inspired by renowned Vietnamese literary works. Movies Cau Vang, Kieu… are cases in point.

Phim điện ảnh Việt và những cái chết biết trước

‘Cau Vang’ based on famous works of writer Nam Cao failed in both sales and quality.

Adapted films no doubt require challenging production and are always placed in comparison with movies of the same genre and topic, let alone successful works that have previously been read by the audience.

While literature is subjective, a film is made entirely from the director's own point of view. To narrow this gap requires excellent screenwriters who are capable of reconciling their individual creativity and the audience’s advance visualizations, creating a requisite harmony in terms of the visuals of the movies.

Phim điện ảnh Việt và những cái chết biết trước

The movie "Kieu" in theaters has received mixed opinions.

Most of the Vietnamese literary works selected for filmmaking are old. It is this distance that leads to deviations in the context, props, costumes, and even character creation.

Without any standard documents, film production is done based on unorthodox ones, personal studies, and trust in people with historical knowledge.

Consequently, the controversy never ceases between the audience that watches movies with their distinctive sentiments and the directors and producers who make their films through their own perspectives.

Film studios with the competence to reproduce a desired space are the key to flawless movies with historical elements and ancient settings which regrettably are still a far-fetched dream in Vietnam as reconstructing a scene based on an existing one is always a high expense of money, time and energy of the crew.

Phim điện ảnh Việt và những cái chết biết trước

A scene from movie ‘Mat Biec’ (Dreamy Eyes).

 

Only until movies Fan Cuong (Fanatic), Co ba Saigon (The Tailor), Song Lang or Toi thay hoa vang tren co xanh (I see yellow flowers on green grass), Mat biec (Dreamy eyes) did filmmakers rebuild a corner of old Saigon and a scene of the market and provincial roads. Whereas if there is a spacious studio with the basic design foundations available, things are far more effortless for the crew who can then focus on acting and storylines instead of every little detail of the scenes.

Acting is the remaining core to an engaging film adapted from a literary work. A film with old time setting will always be demanding for actors regarding expressions and physical movements.

Even how to hold a glass of water, wear a shirt, take one step... involves particular culture, behavior, status ... of the characters in the past, which has not been fully reflected by most Vietnamese films. An attractive narrative with the sharp mindset of directors and editors also plays a significant contribution to the success of a movie... Alas, resolving the challenge is a far cry from acknowledging it.

Video: Trailer of "Cau Vang"

Nguyen Phong Viet

Local movie industry at stake this Tet

Local movie industry at stake this Tet

The Lunar New Year (Tet) has always been an ideal occasion for film distributors, but it will probably be different in 2021. 

Vietnamese films earn big profits after being postponed amid recent COVID-19 outbreak

Vietnamese films earn big profits after being postponed amid recent COVID-19 outbreak

Two Vietnamese films earned several billions dong on one day in cinemas last week, following a postponed release date in February amid a COVID-19 outbreak.

Vietnamese cinema needs new scripts that 'access people's emotions'

Vietnamese cinema needs new scripts that 'access people's emotions'

Only films that reflect people's aspirations and reality of life and move the public can free the film industry from the current impasse and crisis.

 
 

Other News

.
Newspapers and social media: cooperation or confrontation?
Newspapers and social media: cooperation or confrontation?
FEATUREicon  07/07/2021 

VietNamNet spoke with Nguyen Ngoc Chu, a respected mathematician, who is a well-known Facebooker whose posts on his page attract at least 1,000 likes each.

Is Vietnam’s Covid-19 treatment Favipiravir drug effective?
Is Vietnam’s Covid-19 treatment Favipiravir drug effective?
FEATUREicon  07/07/2021 

Vietnam has never included any antiviral drugs in its Covid-19 treatment regimen because of unclear and unproved effectiveness of the drugs in clinical trial results.

What’s behind the high GDP growth rate?
What’s behind the high GDP growth rate?
FEATUREicon  07/07/2021 

The high GDP growth rate of 5.64 percent reported for H1, when a number of large cities and provinces were under social distancing, businesses had to close, and people lost their livelihoods, has puzzled many people.

Strengthening tools to protect children in cyberspace
Strengthening tools to protect children in cyberspace
FEATUREicon  05/07/2021 

The strong development of the Internet and social networks has made children become digital citizens early, which brings many benefits in the service of learning, entertainment, and enhanced social interaction.

CPI rises slowly as people run out of money
CPI rises slowly as people run out of money
FEATUREicon  06/07/2021 

The reported CPI only reflects 60-70 percent of the real situation, according to the former Chair of the Hanoi Supermarket Association Vu Vinh Phu.

Minister of Home Affairs: state apparatus is too cumbersome
Minister of Home Affairs: state apparatus is too cumbersome
FEATUREicon  06/07/2021 

Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra says that the state apparatus is overly cumbersome with too many levels of hierarchy and an overlapping structure in ministries and ministerial-level agencies.

2022 World Cup qualifier: What is Vietnam striving for?
2022 World Cup qualifier: What is Vietnam striving for?
FEATUREicon  06/07/2021 

The Vietnamese team already knows exactly the opponents in the final qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup. How far does it want to go?

Vietnam railways corporation incurs big losses, thousands of workers take leave
Vietnam railways corporation incurs big losses, thousands of workers take leave
FEATUREicon  06/07/2021 

The Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) is experiencing its toughest days in history as many trains have stopped running during Covid-19. Many workers have had to take unpaid leave.

Fighting for $52 billion market, int’l groups flock to Vietnam
Fighting for $52 billion market, int’l groups flock to Vietnam
FEATUREicon  05/07/2021 

Despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the e-commerce industry still witnessed explosive growth in 2020.

Ministers of Home Affairs explain new circular on certificates for civil servants
Ministers of Home Affairs explain new circular on certificates for civil servants
FEATUREicon  05/07/2021 

The burden of certificates has been compared to “sub-licenses”, “a miserable and expensive journey”, and “buying certificates” by many National Assembly deputies.

Vietnam's Covid-19 vaccine strategy: speeding up vaccinations with 1 million doses per day
Vietnam's Covid-19 vaccine strategy: speeding up vaccinations with 1 million doses per day
FEATUREicon  05/07/2021 

Access to Covid-19 vaccine sources has been difficult due to a scarcity of supply in the world. What solutions will Vietnam need to buy enough Covid-19 vaccines for its people?

Vietnam's Covid-19 vaccine strategy: speeding up vaccinations with 1 million doses per day
Vietnam's Covid-19 vaccine strategy: speeding up vaccinations with 1 million doses per day
FEATUREicon  04/07/2021 

Access to Covid-19 vaccine sources has been difficult due to a scarcity of supply in the world. What solutions will Vietnam need to buy enough Covid-19 vaccines for its people?

'Confessions' of Tinder scammers
'Confessions' of Tinder scammers
FEATUREicon  04/07/2021 

No sooner had the appropriation of billions of Vietnamese dong been discovered than the fraudsters suddenly disclosed their swindles, which were quickly done thanks to the trust and affection they easily gained from the victims.

Vietnam welcomes third FDI wave
Vietnam welcomes third FDI wave
FEATUREicon  04/07/2021 

Vietnam is committed to developing its role in the production value chain through FDI and has been preparing for many years to improve the qualifications of its workers.

Victims of romance scams left desperate
Victims of romance scams left desperate
FEATUREicon  03/07/2021 

With nothing obtained and losses incurred, the victims of the dating app scam have been left in the depths of despair.

Youth prefer freelancing, working from anywhere
Youth prefer freelancing, working from anywhere
FEATUREicon  03/07/2021 

As technology is developing at a lightning speed, more and more young people want to give up their dedicated desks in offices and work from anywhere in the world.

Ben Tre tries to 'make impossible possible' by digitizing
Ben Tre tries to 'make impossible possible' by digitizing
FEATUREicon  06/07/2021 

When talking about how digital transformation should proceed in a poor country, Ben Tre provincial People’s Committee Tran Ngoc Tam had a practical view: transformation will succeed only if people understand it and get benefits from it.

Vietnam makes Covid-19 treatment drug, awaits trial results in other countries
Vietnam makes Covid-19 treatment drug, awaits trial results in other countries
FEATUREicon  02/07/2021 

Scientists need to study and master the technology and start a pilot small production process of a treatment drug for Covid-19 before organizing production on industrial scale, Phan Van Hieu, a respected pharmacist, said.

Betting online is easy
Betting online is easy
FEATUREicon  03/07/2021 

While legal football betting businesses remain "immovable", illegal betting sites have been bustling. Billions of dollars go abroad every year to football bets.

Home-sharing, shared-kitchens boom during pandemic
Home-sharing, shared-kitchens boom during pandemic
FEATUREicon  03/07/2021 

Booking a room on the phone, ordering food from an app and shopping online with smart lockers, people are increasingly using technology, changing the habits of consumers.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN