|A scene in Đất Rừng Phương Nam (Southern Land), an 11-episode TV series produced by HCM City Television in 1997, which has been exported on DVD to many countries. Photo courtesy of the producer|
HCM CITY — A famous novel by the late author Đoàn Giỏi, winner of the State Awards for Literature and Arts in 2001, has been adapted into a movie and will be filmed this summer.
Đất Rừng Phương Nam (Southern Land) is an epic in praise of southerners, their history, culture and lifestyle. It is based on the book of the same name, Đất Rừng Phương Nam, one of Giỏi’s favourite books.
The producer HK Film, one of HCM City’s leading private film companies, has invited director Nguyễn Cao Minh to join the production.
Meritorious Artist, film director and scriptwriter Nguyễn Vinh Sơn will also work on the screenplay.
In 1997, Sơn directed the 11-part TV series, Đất Phương Nam (Song of the South), which is based on Giỏi’s book.
The film won the first prize for Best TV Series at the 1997 National Film Festival presented by the Việt Nam Cinematography Association.
The association awarded Sơn the Mai Vàng (Golden Apricot) prize for best director, launched by the HCM City-based Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper a year later.
The film was subtitled in English and has been exported on DVD to the US, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore since 2000.
It is still rebroadcast on Hồ Chí Minh City Television and provincial TV stations.
“We decided to invest both money and human resources on our new version, Đất Rừng Phương Nam, to meet the demand of Giỏi’s fans, who are all ages and backgrounds,” said Nguyễn Trinh Hoan, owner of HK Film.
“We’ve worked with talented directors Cao and Sơn to make our film high quality in images, sound and light effects,” Hoan told local media at the film launching ceremony held recently.
Casting will begin in the city and southern provinces this week. Its post-production is expected to be completed late this year.
The film will be in cinemas in 2019.
Giỏi was born into a landlord family in Châu Thành District of Mỹ Tho Province (now Tiền Giang) in 1925. His family donated their properties to Việt Minh guerrillas after the August Revolution in 1945.
He wrote Đất Rừng Phương Nam in June 1957 when he was 32. One month later, it was released by the newly opened Kim Đồng Publishing House in Hà Nội.
The 255-page book is about the adventures of a boy named Nam, who loses his family in a battle and lives in the southwestern region under the French colonists.
He learns new things and experiences with the help of many poor farmers and children, and travels around the region and witnesses the sufferings of farmers during the war.
He joins the Việt Minh guerrillas to fight against the French troops.
Đất Rừng Phương Nam encourages people to love nature and discover the country and people. It has been printed in dozens of languages, such as English, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Polish.
Its chapter titled Sông Nước Cà Mau (Rivers of Cà Mau) has been used in textbooks for sixth-grade students.
“Đất Rừng Phương Nam’s 20 chapters capture the imaginations of readers, both young and old. It is one of the country’s favourite books,” said the film’s scriptwriter Sơn.
“The book provides readers, particularly children, with new ideas about nature, animals, rivers, plants and people of the south,” he added. — VNS