Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Every night on Việt Nam Television’s VTV1 channel, thousands of viewers are watching a new show about Sài Gòn’s lifestyle in the 1950s.
The 49-part series, Mỹ Nhân Sài Thành (Beauties of Sài Gòn), portrays the lives of Sài Gòn women, including the intelligentsia and farmers.
The series focuses on three characters who decide, after a bout of soul-searching, to join the Việt Minh Front (Việt Nam Independence League’s Front) and develop a business.
Directed by Lê Cung Bắc, the film includes beautiful scenes captured in HCM City and the southern provinces of Đồng Tháp and Tiền Giang.
The director and his staff worked hard to depict scenes of rivers and forests in Sa Đéc and Gò Công, both famous destinations of the south, interspersed with folk songs and traditional customs of southern people.
According to the film’s producer HCM City Television Studio (TFS), Mỹ Nhân Sài Thành attracted more than 120 skilled and amateur actors, including dozens of foreigners who live in the city.
Passed over by hundreds of more experienced candidates, Ngân Khánh, Dương Mỹ Linh and Khánh My, who have won national beauty contests, got their shot at the big time by playing leading roles, based on real women.
"I learned more about the lives and works of southern women living in the period between early 1945 and 1950 who joined the Việt Minh to fight for national liberation," said young actress My, who plays Hồng Trà, one of the film’s three leading female characters.
"I hope audiences can see her beautiful mind and the brave character of southern women," she said.
"We spent nearly a year and a big sum to complete the film,” said the film’s director Bắc, who has more than 50 years experience in film.
“I believe that a TV series about historical events will make waves in the local film industry that is now dominated by comedy productions," he added.
According to Bắc, private filmmakers are not making any historical movies. HCM City’s biggest television studio TFS has produced only two such works over the last seven years.
"We enjoy making these movies, but have faced many differences in finding financing and staff,” he said.
Bắc’s previous film, Võ Ngựa Trời Nam (A Tale of Southern Land), a production about past events in the southern region, was broadcast on HCM City Television (HTV) in 2000 and left a strong impression on audiences.
His film provides viewers with deeper knowledge about history and has been rebroadcast on HTV and provincial television stations.
Bắc suggested that cinematography authorities should give priority to both State-owned and private filmmakers who make such films.
Mỹ Nhân Sài Thành is showing at 8.45pm on VTV1 from Monday to Wednesday. — VNS