Monday, December 18 2017

VietNamNews

‘The Race' fails to win hearts

Update: August, 31/2013 - 12:00

There have been some successful films made in Viet Nam.

There have also been some that have not been successful.

One was ‘The Race'.

Perhaps it was just too serious a movie and most people who watch movies are young and simply not into such serious movies.

by Nguyen Khanh Chi

Flopped: Amateur actor, rocker Pham Anh Khoa acts as the retired jockey in Duong dua (The Race). The film reportedly failed to win audience's hearts.
Flopped: Amateur actor, rocker Pham Anh Khoa acts as the retired jockey in Duong dua (The Race). The film reportedly failed to win audience's hearts. - Photo thethaovanhoa.vn

Almost two weeks after hitting screens nationwide, the heavily promoted Duong dua (The Race) has been declared a flop, following in the footsteps of many other recent Vietnamese releases which have failed to win audiences' hearts.

The movie reached local screens on the weekend of July 26 but has already been dropped by major cinema chains such as Megastar and Galaxy in HCM City and Ha Noi.

Advertised as an exciting action/crime story, the film tells the story of a retired jockey who borrows money to make a living in the city and support his sick father. He soon falls into a gambling spiral and makes an enemy of a local den owner.

The lack of interest in The Race comes as a huge disappointment to the newly-established Blue Production studio, which bankrolled the feature and the reasons for the film's failure are now under scrutiny.

"As contracted with the distributor, the film was shown for two weeks," said a representative from the August Cinema in Ha Noi, where The Race was officially removed from the list on Friday.

"Normally, whether we extend the contract depends on the number of people who go to see the film. A release may stay on screens for one or two weeks, or it may remain for three months if audience interest is high. The maximum number people attending screenings of The Race has been fewer than 30."

Hoang Minh Nam, an audience member who did go and see the film said that the screening at a Megastar Cinema on a Monday afternoon was attended by only four other people. The cinema screened the film for only one week.

"Any movie screened out there in cinemas needs to take full advantage of the big screen and huge sound system. Unfortunately, compared with Hollywood releases we cannot compete in terms of technique, sound, content and investment," said Nam. "Why should I choose to see a Vietnamese movie when I have to pay the same price for a Hollywood blockbuster?"

A slow year

The Race is the seventh Vietnamese film to hit local screens this summer. Although it was well-covered by local mass media, the film failed to receive the positive critical reception afforded to recent releases such as Lo lem Sai Gon (Sai Gon Cinderella), the 3D Biet chet lien (How the Hell Should I Know?), San dan ong (Men Hunting) and Cat nong (Hot Sand), which was shown at the opening ceremony of the International Film Festival in Ha Noi last year.

How the Hell Should I Know? earned the highest turnover of the group, with VND7.2 billion (US$340,000) whilst Hot Sand made only VND35 million ($1,600), according to Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper. The VND12 billion - The Race earned around VND850 million on its first weekend. These figures are much lower compared with foreign films like the still-showing Despicable Me 2, which earned distributors almost VND54.7 billion ($2.6 million) by July 31 after a month on local screens.

The Race failed to create box-office magic partly because of the ‘heavy' nature of the material, according to the film's assistant director Nguyen Thanh Son on his personal webpage.

"It is serious and is not really targeted at an audience of under 20s – who are the main customers of cinemas."

According to the culture ministry's Cinematography Department, Viet Nam produced 17 films in 2011 and imported 106. The following year the number of locally produced films remained the same while imports reached 134. The statistics also revealed that foreign movies in the country saw profits from $2 million in 2000 to $47 million in 2012. Foreign investment in the sector has also increased, especially in cinema chains.

"Obviously, investment into and earnings from the movie industry has increased significantly year by year," said Ngo Phuong Lan, head of the department. "It proves that Viet Nam has the potential for cinematography to develop. However, we have not done enough to take full advantage of these developments to reinvest into and support the locally made films."

Vu Minh Chien, manager of Platinum Cinemas, said turnover from The Race had fallen far short of expectations.

"Audiences have expressed a general view that despite the hype, the film is not so impressive. Now we have to wait for the ‘bumper crop' of Vietnamese movies to arrive in Lunar New Year or other holidays like National Day, when Hollywood does not release its hits and blockbusters. In the past at these times Vietnamese movies like Dong mau anh hung (The Rebel), My nhan ke (Beauty Trap) and gangster comedy Long Ruoi (Big Boss) stayed in cinemas longer than some foreign movies."

Cinemas are now pinning their hopes for this year on the forthcoming Lua Phat (Once Upon a Time in Viet Nam). The film is described as an "Eastern Western" featuring motorbike-riding kung fu monks and large-scale battles. Dustin Nguyen directed the film and also penned the script. — VNS

GLOSSARY

Almost two weeks after hitting screens nationwide, the heavily promoted Duong dua (The Race) has been declared a flop, following in the footsteps of many other recent Vietnamese releases which have failed to win audiences' hearts.

If something is promoted, a lot of work, effort and energy have gone into making it known.

A flop means a disaster.

If a film wins an audience's hearts, then people who are watching it, love it. (The audience is the group of people watching the film.)

The movie reached local screens on the weekend of July 26 but has already been dropped by major cinema chains such as Megastar and Galaxy in HCM City and Ha Noi.

Something that is local is to do with the area in which it is happening. In this case, local screens are the cinemas in towns all over Viet Nam.

Advertised as an exciting action/crime story, the film tells the story of a retired jockey who borrows money to make a living in the city and support his sick father.

A jockey is someone who rides horses during horse races.

Someone who is retired is old and no longer working.

He soon falls into a gambling spiral and makes an enemy of a local den owner.

If someone falls into a gambling spiral, they gamble so much that it takes over their lives in a very bad way.

A den, in this case, means a hidden place for gambling.

The lack of interest in The Race comes as a huge disappointment to the newly-established Blue Production studio, which bankrolled the feature and the reasons for the film's failure are now under scrutiny.

To bankroll something means to pay for it.

Feature films are long films that usually make up all the time that people who watch them stay at the cinema. The programme would not have any other films as part of the event.

If something is under scrutiny it is looked at very carefully.

"As contracted with the distributor, the film was shown for two weeks," said a representative from the August Cinema in Ha Noi, where The Race was officially removed from the list on Friday.

"As contracted" means as was agreed to.

The distributor, in this case, is the company that makes sure the film goes to many different cinemas.

"A release may stay on screens for one or two weeks, or it may remain for three months if audience interest is high."

When new films come out, people say they are released and are therefore known as releases.

"The maximum number people attending screenings of The Race has been fewer than 30."

The maximum number of people means the most people.

" Unfortunately, compared with Hollywood releases we cannot compete in terms of technique, sound, content and investment," said Nam.

Hollywood releases are films made in Hollywood, in the United States.

Technique means a way of doing something.

Content, in this case, is what is in a film.

"Why should I choose to see a Vietnamese movie when I have to pay the same price for a Hollywood blockbuster?"

A blockbuster is a very successful movie.

Although it was well-covered by local mass media, the film failed to receive the positive critical reception afforded to recent releases such as Lo lem Sai Gon (Sai Gon Cinderella), the 3D Biet chet lien (How the Hell Should I Know?), San dan ong (Men Hunting) and Cat nong (Hot Sand), which was shown at the opening ceremony of the International Film Festival in Ha Noi last year.

In this case, well covered means many newspaper stories were written about it.

The mass media is the media that reaches many, many people.

A critical reception, in this case, means articles that pointed out what was bad about the movie.

The Race failed to create box-office magic partly because of the ‘heavy' nature of the material, according to the film's assistant director Nguyen Thanh Son on his personal webpage.

A box office is where tickets for a movie, or a play, are sold. Box office magic happens when a production is very popular and many people are buying tickets.

The following year the number of locally produced films remained the same while imports reached 134.

Imports are things bought from other countries.

The statistics also revealed that foreign movies in the country saw profits from $2 million in 2000 to $47 million in 2012.

Statistics are numbers that have been counted up.

To reveal something means to show it.

Foreign investment in the sector has also increased, especially in cinema chains.

Investment happens when someone puts money into something with the idea of making more money. Foreign investment happens when it is someone from another country that puts down this money.

"It proves that Viet Nam has the potential for cinematography to develop."

Cinematography means the making of films. If Viet Nam has the potential for cinematography to develop, it means that there are good possibilities in Viet Nam for a movie industry to take off.

Vu Minh Chien, manager of Platinum Cinemas, said turnover from The Race had fallen far short of expectations.

Expectations are what people expect to happen.

"Audiences have expressed a general view that despite the hype, the film is not so impressive."

Hype happens when lots of work, effort and energy is put into making something better known. "Despite the hype" means "even though there was hype…"

"Now we have to wait for the ‘bumper crop' of Vietnamese movies to arrive in Lunar New Year or other holidays like National Day, when Hollywood does not release its hits and blockbusters.

A bumper crop means a lot of food is harvested in one season from a field. It is something people usually say when they are talking about farming. However, here it means many films being produced at one time.

Cinemas are now pinning their hopes for this year on the forthcoming Lua Phat (Once Upon a Time in Viet Nam). The film is described as an "Eastern Western" featuring motorbike-riding kung fu monks and large-scale battles.

Monks are religious men who give their lives to the service of a religion rather than marrying and having families.

Dustin Nguyen directed the film and also penned the script.

To pen a script means to write it.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search.

1.        People who perform kung fu and ride motorbikes in the movie Lua Phat.

2.        The job that the character who borrows money in The Race did before he retired.

3.        The name of a cinema in Ha Noi.

4.        The number of films Viet Nam produced in 2011.

5.        The name given to the American film industry.

6.        The day of the week when a Ha Noi cinema removed The Race from its list.

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ANSWERS:

This page has been developed in cooperation with Duncan Guy, founder and editor of Learn the News.


 































1. Monks; 2. Jockey; 3. August; 4. Seventeen; 5. Hollywood; 6.  Friday.

 


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