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Famous Vietnamese poem to be adapted into TV series

Update: April, 02/2018 - 09:00
Lights, camera, action: Film director Lưu Trọng Ninh is seen at an audition for actors for his upcoming TV series in Hà Nội. The series is based on the epic Vietnamese poem, Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều), by Nguyễn Du. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — One of Việt Nam’s most famous literary works, masterpiece Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều), will be adapted into a TV series by renowned film director Lưu Trọng Ninh.

Ninh, who is known for several award-winning movies and most-watched TV series, including Bến Không Chồng (Wharf of Widows), Canh Bạc (The Gamble), Hãy Tha Thứ Cho Em (Please Forgive Me), Dốc Tình (Give You All My Love) and Hoa Cỏ May (Flower of Grass), recently held auditions for actors in the series in Hà Nội and HCM City. Auditions will continue to be held in other provinces until the director finds the best cast. 

Talking about the series, the 62-year-old director said he was motivated by his late father, well-known poet, writer and playwriter Lưu Trọng Lư.

“Actually, I never thought I would throw myself in this challenging project. However, I always kept in my mind the words my father said to me when I graduated from the University of Cinematography in the 1990s. He said, ‘Ninh, do something with Truyện Kiều. It is the worthiest’.”

But there is another reason that has urged Ninh to adapt the poem.

“Although we have had such a literary masterpiece for decades, Vietnamese cinema has never approached it. I am a vanguard and I may fail in this project. But I believe someone can do better after me,” Ninh said. 

According to him, the series will focus on the time when the tale’s heroine Thúy Kiều spends a part of her life at a brothel.

“As it will reflect my own perception about Kiều and her ups and downs in life, there are several details unlike the original. I am open to feedback,” he said.

The filming of the series is expected to start in June.

The Tale of Kiều is a 3,254-line classic verse poem written in lục bát (six-eight metre), a traditional verse form of Vietnamese poetry. The poem recounts the life, trials and tribulations of Thúy Kiều, a beautiful and talented young woman who had to sacrifice herself to save her family.

The 19th-century poem, which was translated into more than 20 different languages, including French, Chinese, English, Russian and Japanese, was recognised in 1965 by the World Peace Council as one of the world’s celebrated cultural works.

Its author, Nguyễn Du, was also recognised by the UN cultural agency UNESCO as a World Cultural Celebrity in 2003.

In 1923, The Tale of Kiều was adapted into a film for the first time by the French. The movie, which cast a group of tuồng (classical drama) artistes of the Quảng Lạc Troupe in HàNội, is the first feature film of Vietnamese cinema. However, it was not well received by the public. The media attributed this to the acting skills of the cast, which was similar to their performance on the stage, as well as the costumes, which were also similar to the ones from the classical dramas. — VNS


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