|Scene from the past: A still from the 2002 film Me Thao Thoi Vang Bong (Once Upon a Time in Me Thao Village) by Viet Linh, southern Viet Nam's first woman director. — File Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — Southern Viet Nam's first woman director Viet Linh is set to return to moviemaking this week after years of focusing on writing.
Her new film, Toi Da Thay Hoa Vang Tren Co Xanh (I Saw Yellow Flowers on Green Grass), is about childhood, she says, and is based on a novel of the same name written by best-selling children's author Nguyen Nhat Anh.
Linh decided to write the screenplay herself after getting the nod from producer Phuong Nam Film.
"I am very interested in working on Anh's work," she told Dien Anh Viet Nam (Viet Nam Cinematography) magazine in a recent interview.
"I burst into laughter while reading the book. I also cried in some places.
"Not many people have a beautiful childhood, me neither. I wanted to make my film joyous and attractive to both children and adults.
"There are challenges in filming a story based on a book by Anh, who is famous for his super imagination.
"My film will include scenes portraying animals."
Anh's 380-page book, first published in 2010 by the Tre (Youth) Publishing House, became a phenomenon within two weeks. It has since been reprinted many times by top publishers.
The book is about a group of rural children living in a poor village and tells their stories of friendship, love, compassion, and heartlessness.
Runs in the family
Born in a traditional family, Linh possibly acquired her love for films from her father and scriptwriter Viet Tan, who played a role in developing revolutionary cinema.
She went to study films in Russia in 1980.
Five years later she became the south's first woman director, working for Giai Phong Film Studio.
Her first film, Phien Toa Can Chanh An (The Court) in 1987, was about social problems and created a very strong impression.
Linh has since directed dozens of movies, including award-winning ones like Gach Xiec Rong (Travelling Circus Troupe, 1988) and Dau An Cua Quy (The Sign of the Devil, 1992).
Her films like Me Thao Thoi Vang Bong (Once Upon a Time in Me Thao Village, 2002) and Chung Cu (The Tenement House, 1999) were serious dramas that grabbed several prizes at local and international film festivals.
In France, Once Upon a Time in Me Thao Village ran for 12 weeks in cinemas and The Tenement House for 14 weeks.
Once Upon a Time in Me Thao Village won prizes in 2004 from the Viet Nam Cinematography Association and at the Promotion Internationale des Films du Sud in France and the 2003 Bergamo Film Festival in Italy.
Most of her works are in praise of love, life, and people, with the use of light and sound effects highlighting their visual features.
At the age of 61, Linh has not stopped dreaming about moviemaking.
"I wanted to work in this business because I felt film-making was my life," she says.
I Saw Yellow Flowers on Green Grass is expected to complete filming later this year. — VNS