By Lê Hương & Hoàng Việt
It's a cool autumn evening in downtown Hà Nội. Hoàn Kiếm Lake is bustling as usual with non-stop vehicles swirling around the lake. Many locals and foreigners are strolling around enjoying the gentle winds.
A crowd of a few dozen people are gathering in front of Sacrifice Monument by the lake to see a documentary on the art of calligraphy showed on two big LED screens. The outdoor screening is part of the ongoing Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF). The crowd includes both tourists and locals.
|Sacrifice Monument serves as a background for art performances and film screenings. VNS Photo Lê Hương|
Among the audience, tourist Enrico Fabiani from Austria looks attentively at the screen.
“I got to know this event yesterday night, when I heard the singing, and today I return because I said to myself that they may do it again today,” he told Việt Nam News. “I like the colours, the beautiful styling of the men and the women. About the festival itself, I don’t know about it too much. I just saw the advertising of an international festival.”
Fabiani appreciates the outdoor art performances and screenings.
“You bring the culture closer to the public,” he said. “It’s a place where tourists walking around can get attracted by the light, by the sounds and especially by the beautiful dresses.”
|Tourist Enrico Fabiani from Austria enjoys the screenings every night. VNS Photo Hoàng Việt|
According to Mạc Thủy, a staffer from the National Cinema Centre which provides the outdoor screenings at the film festival, the outdoor screenings have been offered at several HANIFF events so far.
“The fresh feature in this year's event is that each screening session has been opened by a traditional music art performance,” she said. “We aim to praise traditional performing arts at the event, which is also good to lure both domestic and foreign audiences in such a public venue.”
Thủy said eight documentary films, cartoons and features have been screened outdoors here from 7pm on November 9, 10 and 11.
“The music performances help attracted more foreign passers-by to the film screenings,” she said.
Nguyễn Hương Trà, who is from the northern province of Thái Nguyên and now works in Hà Nội, said she heard about the film screenings on TV.
“I know there will be documentaries and cartoons, which are my favourite, so I come here to watch,” she said. “I am also so happy to see a documentary about the art of calligraphy today, which I am a big fan of.”
Trà said she thinks this activity is so meaningful, which made her understand the messages from the filmmakers.
|Dozens of spectators gather at the site for the film screenings. VNS Photo Hoàng Việt|
“They mostly focus on culture and content about Việt Nam,” she said. “Generally, the event will help Hanoians deep dive into the story of the city as well as our country. To tourists, I think they can understand the film style and culture of Việt Nam.”
Lê Văn Toàn, a worker from a construction site nearby, said he has come here since the first screening.
“We, poor labourers in the capital, rarely can afford film or concert tickets,” he said. “I often see free outdoor art performances here around Hoan Kiem Lake together with my colleagues. There are many art events but film screenings like this are still very few.”
Toàn said he hopes to see more films here for free and not only Vietnamese but also foreign films.
“I hope free outdoor film screenings are available maybe every weekend, not only in the framework of the biennial film festival,” he said.
Trà added that the music performance brought a new wind to the film screenings.
“By being added more live performances, the film screenings are more unforgettable events,” she said.
The HANIFF, which will last until November 12, gathers 123 cinema works from 56 countries and territories. Eleven feature films will compete for the Best Feature title, Best Director and Best Actor/Actress.
The films are screened at the National Cinema Centre, CGV Vincom Nguyễn Chí Thanh, BHD Star Cinema Vincom Phạm Ngọc Thạch and outdoors at Hoàn Kiếm Lake between November 8 and 11.
The results will be announced at the closing ceremony held at 8pm at the Friendship Culture Palace in Hà Nội on November 12. VNS