Wednesday, September 18 2019

VietNamNews

Maker of horror movies has local focus

Update: August, 31/2019 - 08:05

 

 

Bắc Kim Thang and Cha Ma are two upcoming horror films. Photo courtesy of thanhnien.vn

 

Young director Trần Hữu Tấn, who is making a psychological thriller inspired by a Vietnamese folk song called Bắc Kim Thang has sparked excitement among horror film enthusiasts.

 

Similar to other countries, Việt Nam has its signature folk stories, songs and poems that are popular among horror filmmakers.

With his new film, Tấn hopes that it will become a shining example for the horror genre in Việt Nam.

“When it comes to horror movies from Thailand, South Korea and the US, audiences instantly picture how those plots are going to be,” he said.

“Since the Vietnamese horror genre has yet to stand out, my team and I hope to create signature, mysterious images that can’t be mistaken with foreign horror movies,” he added.

Tấn acknowledged that Bắc Kim Thang might create controversy since the popular folk song has different meanings, depending on each person's interpretation.

“We thought everything out very carefully when we chose Bắc Kim Thang as our inspiration as well as the movie title,” he said, adding that the audience should be ready for an interesting plot.

“We decided to use the image of a scarecrow, a familiar figure typically seen in fields, to highlight the local factor and help depict the idea of male chauvinism in rural areas more boldly,” he added.

Film producer Hoàng Quân added that while the West has Annabelle or Chucky as horror symbols, Việt Nam, which has inherited a treasure of folk ghost and spiritual stories, still lacks representatives for its horror film culture.

The introduction of successful low-budget horror movies from overseas has encouraged local producers to invest in this genre.

Recent Vietnamese horror movies such as Victor Vũ’s Quả Tim Máu, Hàm Trần’s Đoạt Hồn, Bá Vũ’s Ngủ Với Hồn Ma, and Lê Văn Kiệt’s Ngôi Nhà Trong Hẻm, among others, have had better plots and presentations, attracting the attention of many Vietnamese.

Though there has been a rise in quantity, some local horror movies lack quality. They often have poor scripts and use the image of bloody female ghosts with long hair repeatedly.

Director Bá Vũ, who has been loyal to the genre since the beginning of his career, said that he was focusing on making genuine horror movies.

“It’s vague to define how a Vietnamese horror movie should be, given that I had already incorporated traditional southern lullabies into my upcoming Cha Ma horror movie,” he said.

“The fact that Vietnamese directors are making Vietnamese movies can ensure that the film will have local colour. What is difficult is to create authentic horror factors that can be sold to other countries.

“My horror movie will have real ghosts, not people faking to be ghosts or a movie ending with everything being just a dream.”

On a different note, actress Hồng Ánh said that audiences were bored with the comedy genre but horror movies continued to remain popular.

“I support genre diversity in Vietnamese movies. From the very beginning when I launched my studio, my intention has been to produce horror movies,” she said.

“Việt Nam is diverse in terms of spiritual and superstitious practices and integrating these factors into horror movies will attract more audiences to theatres,” she added.

Censorship

That being said, some local horror movies cannot pass censorship barriers, thus are never introduced to the public.

Thiên Linh Cái, directed by Hàm Trần, is among examples of local horror movies that never got to debut.

This film captures true tales of a perverted witch doctor, who killed four girls in the southwestern region to practise black magic.

Since its content includes some superstitious elements banned in the Law of Cinema, according to experts and locals, Thiên Linh Cái has repeatedly had its debut rescheduled and moviemakers had to re-shoot some scenes for another appraisal.

Director Khoa N. told the Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that it was not easy to pursue horror in Việt Nam.

“Strict censorship limits horror moviemakers’ imaginations,” he said.

Many directors had personally censored their content before having it censored by cultural authority, Khoa said, adding that this explains why Vietnamese horror movies tend to have an epic lead yet predictable ending.

Take Lật Mặt 4, directed by Lý Hải, as an example. This movie was advertised to be a horror flick. However, comedy was indeed the main theme of the movie.

Meanwhile, director Lê Văn Kiệt, known for his two successful movies Ngôi Nhà Trong Hẻm and Hai Phượng, said that he was feeling down when his other two horror movies Bẫy Cấp 3 and Rừng Xác Sống were prohibited from being screened.

“I did take it into consideration and avoid sensitive factors that might be banned,” he said.

However, it might be the lack of a common voice between his movies and the appraisal council that led to the unfortunate result, he explained. VNS

 


GLOSSARY

Young director Trần Hữu Tấn, who is making a psychological thriller inspired by a Vietnamese folk song called Bắc Kim Thang has sparked excitement among horror film enthusiasts.

Psychological means to do with the working of the mind.

A thriller is a story that is exciting and scary.

If something inspires you it gives you the energy to want to go and do something positive.

A folk song is a traditional song.

People who are film enthusiasts enjoy watching films.

With his new film, Tấn hopes that it will become a shining example for the horror genre in Việt Nam.

Genres of films are different types of films.

Tấn acknowledged that Bắc Kim Thang might create controversy since the popular folk song has different meanings, depending on each person's interpretation.

If there is controversy around a film, people feel strongly about that film. Some may love it, others may hate it.

Your interpretation of something is what you take it to mean.

“We thought everything out very carefully when we chose Bắc Kim Thang as our inspiration as well as the movie title,” he said, adding that the audience should be ready for an interesting plot.

An audience is made up of people who watch a performance.

A plot is a plan in a story.

“We decided to use the image of a scarecrow, a familiar figure typically seen in fields, to highlight the local factor and help depict the idea of male chauvinism in rural areas more boldly,” he added.

A scarecrow is a figure of a human that farmers place in fields to scare birds away from the crops they have planted.

Male chauvinism is the idea that males are more important than females.

Though there has been a rise in quantity, some local horror movies lack quality.

The quantity of something is the measure of how much of it there is.

The quality of something is the measure of how good it is.

To lack something means to be without it.

They often have poor scripts and use the image of bloody female ghosts with long hair repeatedly.

Scripts are the words written that are said and acted out in movies.

Repeatedly means again and again.

Director Bá Vũ, who has been loyal to the genre since the beginning of his career, said that he was focusing on making genuine horror movies.

Your career is your work life.

“It’s vague to define how a Vietnamese horror movie should be, given that I had already incorporated traditional southern lullabies into my upcoming Cha Ma horror movie,” he said.

Incorporated means included.

Lullabies are song sung to help babies go to sleep.

“What is difficult is to create authentic horror factors that can be sold to other countries.”

Authentic means real.

Factors are smaller things that, when added up, make bigger things what they are.

On a different note, actress Hồng Ánh said that audiences were bored with the comedy genre but horror movies continued to remain popular.

A comedy is a funny story.

“I support genre diversity in Vietnamese movies.”

Diversity means difference.

“From the very beginning when I launched my studio, my intention has been to produce horror movies,” she said.

Your intention is what you want to do.

“Việt Nam is diverse in terms of spiritual and superstitious practices and integrating these factors into horror movies will attract more audiences to theatres,” she added.

If something is superstitious it is based on the unnatural world.

That being said, some local horror movies cannot pass censorship barriers, thus are never introduced to the public.

Censorship is what is put in place when an authority does not allow people to see or hear certain things.

The censorship barrier is an imaginary line between what is allowed and what is not allowed.

Thiên Linh Cái, directed by Hàm Trần, is among examples of local horror movies that never got to debut.

A debut is a first public performance.

This film captures true tales of a perverted witch doctor, who killed four girls in the southwestern region to practise black magic.

A witch doctor is a traditional doctor who practises medicine based partly on the unnatural world rather than the scientific world.

Perverted means abnormal.

Black magic is magic involving using evil spirits for evil purposes.

Director Khoa N. told the Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that it was not easy to pursue horror in Việt Nam.

To pursue something means to try and achieve it.

Many directors had personally censored their content before having it censored by cultural authority, Khoa said, adding that this explains why Vietnamese horror movies tend to have an epic lead yet predictable ending.

Epic means dramatic.

If something is predictable it is yet to happen but you know how it will be before it has even happened.

Meanwhile, director Lê Văn Kiệt, known for his two successful movies Ngôi Nhà Trong Hẻm and Hai Phượng, said that he was feeling down when his other two horror movies Bẫy Cấp 3 and Rừng Xác Sống were prohibited from being screened.

Prohibited means “not allowed”.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. An idea that people may imagine and wish to see happen.
  2. A place where artists work.
  3. Another word for “stories”.
  4. A word that describes parts of the world across the oceans.
  5. Writing that often rhymes.

 

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ANSWERS: 1. Dream; 2. Studio; 3. Tales; 4. Overseas; 5. Poems.

 

 

 

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