Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – The film Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang (Night Drumbeats Cause Longing for Absent Husband), a production about traditional Vietnamese culture by director Nguyễn Quang Dũng, will be released in cinemas this month.
The film is adapted from the drama of the same name by theatre director and playwright Thanh Hoàng of HCM City.
Since it debut in 1994 by the 5B Small Theatre, one of the city’s leading drama troupes, the play has been staged more than 1,000 times in HCM City and Hà Nội.
The play features the country’s traditional culture and the spirit of different generations.
In 1995, it received the Golden Medal at the National Theatre Festival in Hà Nội.
Hoàng and the film’s director Dũng Hoàng worked together on filming.
Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang tells a story of Tư, an elderly artisan, and his closest friend, who move from their native village in a province in the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta to live with their children in the US.
They are nostalgic after years living away from Việt Nam. They often sing and dance cải lương (reformed opera), the south’s traditional music, together.
“Our film is targeted to young audiences at home and abroad. Through our work, we hope that youth learn more about Vietnamese culture and lifestyle through theatre,” said director Dũng, a graduate of the HCM City University of Theatre & Cinematography.
Dũng invited Vietnamese-American theatre actors Hoài Linh and Chí Tài to play the leading roles.
“Although Linh and Tài are talented and professional artists, they both worked hard on refining their singing and acting skills to successfully portray the spirit of the Vietnamese,” he said.
The film also features young actors Trọng Khang, Thanh Mỹ and Hoàng Quân.
The film was shot in many locations in Việt Nam and the US.
Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang was named after the famous vọng cổ (Nostalgic Tunes) song written in 1919 by well-known musician Cao Văn Lầu of Bạc Liêu Province, who is recognised as a guru of cải lương theatre.
The song tells of the love, anguish and pride of a young woman watching her husband leave to fight for the country.
Vọng cổ songs are sung by southern farmers after working in the fields. The songs feature the feeling, dreams and hopes of people. They are often used in cải lương.
In Dũng’s production, actors spent days to learn singing Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang with skilled artists from Trần Hữu Trang Theatre, the region’s leading cải lương troupe.
"Although I really like comedies and pop music, we enjoy getting a taste of what serious film Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang is like," said Trần Tú Quỳnh, a first-year student at HCM City University of Law.
Produced by the Thiên Ngân (Galaxy) Studio, the film will be in cinemas on March 24. — VNS