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Hotly-tipped war epic to open film fest

Update: September, 27/2013 - 09:55

Art of war: One of the scenes in Nhung Nguoi Viet Huyen Thoai (The Legend Makers). — Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Feature film Nhung Nguoi Viet Huyen Thoai (The Legend Makers), a reportedly strong candidate at the 18th National Film Festival in Quang Ninh Province next month, is already making headlines as it opens an on-going film week to celebrate the Film Festival.

The wartime story took place about 50 years ago, but young director Bui Tuan Dung puts a fresh spin on the tale.

"I didn't embellish and politicise the film as some have said. I focus on the people. How did they make a legend?" Dung said."The film is based on historical facts, but I tell the story from my personal point of view."

The Legend Makers depicts one of the most vibrant periods of the country's history. It focuses on the construction of an oil pipeline along the Truong Son mountain range by General Dinh Duc Thien and his soldiers, who contributed great efforts to the cause of national liberation.

The film targets young audiences, encouraging them to understand how their fathers' and grandfathers' generations fought for the nation.

"It's a new angle. The filmmakers attempt to show audiences the reality of wartime," Thu Ha wrote in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. "It does not describe a huge campaign with numberless soldiers moving in waves or glorious feats of arms. But it recounts how soldiers showed strong skills and the spirit to fight, surviving through onslaughts of bombs and weapons to fulfill their task. There is lots of blood spilt and many deaths."

The filmmakers faced many challenges when it came to recreating the battlefield atmosphere, such as finding weapons to use as props.

"Those found in museums are not only insufficient, they are also quite old," Dung said. "At that time, the soldiers' uniforms and their equipment were quite new."

The limited State budget posed another challenge. Luckily, the filmmakers were able to obtain funding from other sources. More than 200 scenes were completed with the assistance of digital technology, which cinematographer Ly Thai Dung – the key cameraman behind The Legend Makers – said was a crucial tool for modern filmmaking.

"It can make the impossible possible. We used digital technology to create the image of fighting planes in the air and other weapons," Dung said.

According to Ha, the techniques were effective. "Explosions and bombs in the battlefield as well as sounds and images of war planes dropping bombs and hovering in the ‘Dead Valley' make the film feel so real," the critic wrote.

Photojournalist Viet Van of Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper agreed.

"The film's rapid rhythm draws the audience in. The fierce atmosphere of the war is vividly depicted through bombings and duels between those protecting the pipeline and the enemy forces," Van wrote. "The director has skillfully intertwined humorous situations with heavier ones."

The film is a top candidate for the Golden Lotus Award, Van added.

During the film week (September 23-29), the public in Ha Noi, Da Nang and HCM City can view The Legend Makers as well as other candidates for the award such as Dam Me (Passion), Bi Mat Tham Do (Scandal), Hello Co Ba (Hello Ms Ba) and Duong Dua (The Race). — VNS

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