|Living the role: Actress Ngoc Lan hopes through her role in Man Hon Muoi that urban people will learn from the lives of salt farmers. — Photo courtesy of M&T Pictures
HCM CITY (VNS) — A young female salt farmer is the focus of a 38-episode TV series Man Hon Muoi (The Bitterness of Life) being shown on HCM City Television.
Directed by Nham Minh Hien of M&T Pictures, the series portrays the lives of salt farmers living in Phan Rang of Ninh Thuan Province.
Thuy faces several problems related to farming work and her family.
Because the price of salt fell over the years, the family was forced out of business.
In the series, Thuy decides to help her villagers produce and sell salt at better prices. Her challenges are difficult, but she continues.
"Nobody can live without salt, but salt farmers remain among the country's poorest people," said the film's director Hien.
He said that he decided to make a film on salt farmers after seeing a documentary about their lives 10 years ago.
"We want to attract a large audience, despite the domination of films about urban youth and love on local television," Hien said.
Before making Man Hon Muoi, Hien asked his actors to visit salt farming villages in the central coastal provinces of Ninh Thuan and Phu Yen.
"I wanted it to accurately reflect the true lives of farmers. I wanted Thuy's life to be a realistic story," he said.
Hien's film features burning issues on salt farming and farm owners, who took on massive debt to pay for both workers and equipment in a gamble that prices would rise.
Some of them converted their salt fields into fish and shrimp farming ponds to cover their living expenses and debts.
The series shows why the salt industry failed to meet the expectations of the domestic market.
Actress Ngoc Lan, who played Thuy, said: "I met salt farmers and I understand the hardships they face."
For three weeks of shooting, Lan, who has worked as an actress for 10 years, spent many hours a day working in salt marshes, with her back and face exposed to the sun.
"I lost some of my beauty, but I improved my living skills," said Lan, who also lost weight to look more like a salt worker.
"I understand why and how farmers love making salt, a traditional craft that has continued for more than 300 years, despite the hard work. I hope my fans will learn about this from my role," she said.
The Man Hon Muoi series is broadcast at 8pm every night from Monday to Thursday on HCM City Television's channel 7. — VNS