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Veteran director dies aged 81

Update: February, 07/2013 - 00:00

Screen legend: Veteran filmmaker Hai Ninh passed away on Tuesday in Ha Noi after a long illness. — File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Award-winning filmmaker Hai Ninh died on Tuesday morning in Ha Noi after a long illness.

Born in 1931 in Thanh Hoa Province, Ninh was a director at the Viet Nam Feature Film Studio. He was among the students in the first directing course in the Viet Nam Cinema and Stage College.

His death came as a shock to his family because he looked healthy in recent days and was happy to prepare for the upcoming Tet holiday, according to his son, director Nguyen Thanh Van.

The director was hospitalized ten days ago when he fainted from low blood pressure.

"I was stunned when his son informed me of his death. I booked a ticket to Ha Noi to attend his funeral immediately," said veteran actress Tra Giang, who starred in Ninh's most popular movie, Vi Tuyen 17 Ngay va Dem (Days and Nights at the 17th Parallel).

In his last days, the director was working on a book on Vietnamese actors, according to Giang.

A few months ago, Ninh finished the script for Ha Noi's Mother, a sequel to his previous movie Em Be Ha Noi (The Little Girl of Ha Noi).

Along with Vi Tuyen 17 Ngay Va Dem and Moi Tinh Dau (Love Story), Em Be Ha Noi was a milestone of Viet Nam's revolutionary cinema.

Made in 1973 towards the end of the American War, with considerable assistance from the Vietnamese film industry, Vi Tuyen 17 Ngay va Dem focuses on a married couple who witness the separation of Viet Nam into North and South. Actress Tra Giang won the Best Actress Award at the Moscow Film Festival in 1973 for her role as the wife.

Em Be Ha Noi is often called the director's best feature film. Partly filmed during the US bombing of Ha Noi in 1972, the simple but powerful story centres on a little girl wandering through the rubble of the city, looking for her parents. Eventually a soldier takes her under his wing.

The film won awards both locally and internationally, including the Golden Lotus prize at the Viet Nam Film Festival 1975 and a diploma at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1975.

Ninh was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize in 2007. — VNS

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