Revolutionary cinema star passes away

February, 26/2018 - 18:00

Actress Tuệ Minh, widely known for her roles in Vietnamese classic movies of Revolutionary Cinema from the 1950s-1960s, passed away on her 80th birthday in Hà Nội.

Actress Tuệ Minh in Ngày Lễ Thánh (The Holy Day). — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Actress Tuệ Minh, widely known for her roles in Vietnamese classic movies of Revolutionary Cinema from the 1950-1960, passed away on her 80th birthday in Hà Nội.

Her funeral was held this morning at Cầu Giấy Funeral Parlour. In attendance were many cinema and theatre artists. "Actress Tuệ Minh was among the first generation of cinema artists of Vietnamese revolutionary cinema," said script writer Hồng Ngát.

"She represented the beauty and charm of a silver screen star despite the very difficult life during war time and the subsidy period later. She was among the first actresses making contributions to portraying typical figures in life to fight for national independence and the development of the country. Many of them have passed away and others are very old. I love them very much."

Born in 1938 to a Hà Nội family, she studied at the College of Theatre and Cinema, which opened in 1959. There, she was known for her expressive voice which helped her to become popular voice-over artist for many movies. She was also a contributor for Voice of Việt Nam’s Night Stories.

"Tuệ Minh is very enthusiastic," said actress Chiều Xuân. "In my memory she was always excited with different roles and she paid strong attention to voice acting, which all artists have to learn".

Actress Tuệ Minh was known in Vợ Chồng Anh Lực (Story of Lực and His Wife), Vĩ Tuyến 17 Ngày Và Đêm (The 17th Parallel Day and Night), Ngày Lễ Thánh (The Holy Day) and Một Ngày Đầu Thu (The First Day of Fall) which are recognised as canonical works of Vietnamese Revolutionary Cinema.

"I was very sad when the actress’s daughter informed me about her mother’s death," said People’s Artist Trà Giang. "The First Day of Fall movie was the first movie Tuệ Minh and I worked on together. Her daughter portrayed my daughter in the movie.

"We have many memories. To me Tuệ Minh was very talented. I remember forever a close-up in Nguyễn Văn Trỗi which features Tuệ Minh’s eyes. I was obsessed by them," said actress Trà Giang.

Vĩ Tuyến 17 Ngày Và Đêm competed at the Moscow Film Festival in 1973 and earned the best actress award for Trà Giang.

Script editor Trịnh Thanh Nhã praised Tuệ Minh’s acting skill displayed in The Holy Day and thinks that her talent lay in bringing leading-star power and subtlety to supporting roles. "In The Holy Day, just by looking up actress Tuệ Minh expressed the faithfulness of a believer. Her eyes’ acting is very special. I think that her acting and that of the leading actress in the movie are equal," said Nhã.

The First Day of Fall was directed by Huy Vân, who is Tuệ Minh’s husband.

"I still remember that Tuệ Minh is very beautiful with elegant style," said independent filmmaker Phan Đăng Di. "All actresses from the first generation of College of Theatre and Cinema have cinematic beauty which I rarely find in the younger generations".

The role of Phượng in the drama Cách Mạng (The Revolution) made her reputation on stage. Tuệ Minh combined psychological acting and her expressionistic acting style to create an image of a young Saigonese girl, according to theatre critic Nguyễn Thị Minh Thái.

The actress was granted title People’s Artist, which is the highest recognition for an artist by the Ministry of Culture in 2016. She had two daughters with the first husband. She remarried to the famous writer Nguyễn Đình Thi.  — VNS