Actress hopes film will help protect vunerable people

November 23, 2022 - 09:15
The movie won five awards, including best script at Cánh Diều Vàng and the Best Story award at the US festival. Uyên is also the scriptwriter and producer of the movie.
Award-winning Lý Nguyễn Nhã Uyên. Photo

Lý Nguyễn Nhã Uyên's performance in Đêm Tối Rực Rỡ (The Brilliant Darkness!) earned her the best actress at Cánh Diều Vàng Award 2022 and Santa Fe Film Festival in the US.

The movie won five awards, including best script at Cánh Diều Vàng and the Best Story award at the US festival. Uyên is also the scriptwriter and producer of the movie.

Việt Nam News reporter Nguyễn Bình chats with the actress about her career.

You are the leading actor, scriptwriter and producer of The Brilliant Darkness! Did it press on you?

I see the producer role as the most difficult for me. This is the first time I have produced a movie, and I feel like a fish trying to climb a tree. It was a blow when some investors rejected the project. However, we tried our best and made an effort to look for investment sources.

I thought I should try again. So that if I don't have success, I will not regret it. I remember the day we pitched to film investors. To convince investors, it is not possible to say in general that "our film is very good, very good for society", but must find ways to answer questions about profits.

I stayed up many nights preparing for my pitching, practising speaking and posing scenarios that investors would ask me. I still remember holding the contract but shivering because of the unexpected results. I successfully raised funds in one day after exactly one year of preparing.

It took you four years to make the movie. How meaningful is the success of the movie to you?

Thinking about four years ago is thinking about instability. I have had difficulties in my acting career. There was a time when I wished I could stay home to take care of my children. But I wouldn't be happy if I couldn't make the movie I wanted.

We have too many career aspirations, and when we strive for many years but do not get what we want, we are very discouraged.

So the awards are significant for me.

I stayed in my character Song, and I cried a lot. I also cried when I received feedback from the audience. The movie gives them a chance to change their relationship with the family.

After the movie debut in HCM City, the audience came to hug me, and they cried. I think they have problems like the character Song, who is vulnerable and weak in society and their family.

Why did you write the script about family violence?

I write the script with my own experience in my family. In Việt Nam, the word 'unfilial' is terrible - who dares to speak out about problems in their family? I ask myself if I am unfilial. The question was always in my mind during filming.

If I don't, who will? There was no family violence in my family. My parents did not hit me. A Vietnamese verse says spare the rod spoil the child, but this teaching method is not always suitable for all children or at all times.

During my childhood, I was rarely praised or recognised by my parents. As a result, I always have to strain to do the right thing, and I don't have anyone to share it with.

My parents and I did not connect. I did not know how to talk to them. But I found that leaving the family and cutting off contact with them is simpler than dealing with the problems left behind.

When I shared my problems, my parents didn't understand me. It was difficult for me. But, gradually, we opened our hearts and understood and cared about each other more.

The female characters are a part of my life in the past. However, I wasn't a drug addict like Kim Bảo character, but I used to be an alcoholic and make off from home. I used to have a bad time. Luckily, I overcame it.

Through the character Song, I want to encourage vulnerable people, parent and their children. In any situation, we have a family to love.

The movie is not my desire to affirm my position in the circle, but I think it is meaningful to society, like the words at the movie's beginning, "keep children safe in their own home". It is a goal that I strive to achieve in my life.

I interview many people to create the characters. The real stories are more serious and more painful than Song's. I understand and share with them, but I cannot help them.

The movie is my way to share and encourage them.

How did you feel when your name was announced at Santa Fe Film Festival?

When my name was first announced, I didn't realise it was me. I was so surprised. I walked up to the stage to say thank you quickly like I was in shock.

Later, I regretted it a bit. I wish my husband was the award recipient because, without him, there would be no The Brilliant Night! He was the one who lit the fire and encouraged me because many times, I was discouraged and didn't want to continue.

I told him to stop making movies and find something more stable to make a living because making movies is so hard. Every month, rent, electricity, water, and school fees for our children put a lot of pressure on us.

That night, I cried with my husband. I said I didn't want to accept this award because fate made me keep working while I was so tired.

Will you continue with independent movie-making?

We don't want to limit ourselves to a certain genre or scale. I have joined script writing for movies such as Tấm Cám - Untold Story; Once Upon A Time, and Thanh Sói. I have written scripts and sold them.

Although making an independent movie is difficult, I will take it when an opportunity comes. Movie makers should be brave, dreamy and believe in the audience. I'm not as fierce as my husband. But after the first movie, I know I have reason to continue. VNS