Viet Nam News
By Minh Thu
HÀ NỘI — When blockbuster film Người Bất Tử (The Immortal), directed by Victor Vũ, set to open on October 26, viewers will take in a dark story that spans three centuries – as well as some of the country’s most beautiful scenery.
Vũ believes that one of the reasons the film will be successful is its use of stunning scenery.
The film tells the story of Hùng, who holds the secret of the eternal life.
Hùng’s tumultuous life reveals a story filled with ambition, vengeance and dark magic.
To portray the life spanning three centuries, Vũ and the film crew had to find different places to fit the story.
Audience will not only enjoy a romantic and thrilling film, they also join a tour throughout the country, with beautiful scenes in Hà Nội, Hà Nam, Hưng Yên, Quảng Bình, HCM City, Tiền Giang, and Đồng Nai.
The scenes vary in terrain, from the delta, grasslands, valleys and hills to forests, caves, sea and the highest mountain peaks.
The central province of Quảng Bình was once home to the set of Kong: Skull Island. This is the first film, however, in which the film crew passed the impenetrable blackness that cloaks the beauty inside the cave system. They captured the allure that can’t be described in words, said Vũ.
“Seventy per cent of the scenes were filmed in the caves and mountains in Phong Nha, Tú Làn, Bố Trạch and Đồng Hới,” he said.
The land is known for its pristine beauty, which hasn’t been exploited by humans. But producing it was also full of obstacles.
The ten days of shooting at Tú Làn Cave in Quảng Bình was the hardest time for the crew, according to producer Trần Thị Bích Ngọc.
Due to the difficult terrain, more than 100 people with heavy equipment needed the support of porters to complete the mission.
“We started a working day at 3.30am and ended at 10pm,” said Ngọc.
“It took much time to move and transport the devices. After one and a half hours travelling by car, we spent two hours walking in the forest, climbing up to the mountain and swimming in a stream to access the caves.”
Beyond the terrain, the cruel weather in Quảng Bình was also a big challenge for the film crew.
“The shooting was often interrupted due to the weather, with sudden rains, scorching sun and dry winds”, said Ngọc.
“Sometimes the heavy rain raised the stream’s water level that we couldn’t enter the cave and sometimes we had to wait for hours for the rain to stop.”
Director Vũ said he has always been charmed and thrilled in front of the beautiful scenery of the country. He always kept in his memory the landscapes of the places he visited, as he believed that one day, they could be ideal backgrounds for his films.
“The Immortal is the first film in which I felt free to introduce the scenic spots of the country,” said Vũ.
The filmmakers said that they overcame many limits to complete the film. After the hard work, they felt delighted when watching the film, the sweet fruit of their labour.
Traditional culture depicted
As the life of Hùng spreads over three centuries, the film crew also had to find suitable contexts and design the background to fit different historical periods, said Vũ.
The crew also depicted cultural heritage by shooting at old villages of Cựu (Phú Xuyên District, Hà Nội) and Nôm (Hưng Yên) as well as French-style villas in the Mekong Delta.
Audiences will understand the life and culture of Vietnamese people under feudalism, the colonial regime and in modern times.
Cultural elements like traditional customs, lifestyles, architecture, music and costumes will also be showcased.
In the role of a songstress, Jun Vũ sings sweetly and beats bamboo castanets in hát ả đào (ceremonial singing).
Victor Vũ is a director and writer, known for his Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass (2015), Scandal (2012) and Quả Tim Máu (Vengeful Heart, 2014).
While the film Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass lured more tourists to Phú Yên Province where the film was shot, Victor Vũ expected that The Immortal will do it better in promoting national tourism.
The official trailer of The Immortal, released in June, has impressed audiences with the wonderful scenery in Quảng Bình and bold mysterious colours. It also raises a series of questions for the audience about the supernatural.
The film stars Quách Ngọc Ngoan, Đinh Ngọc Diệp and Jun Vũ as the main actor and actresses; and Cường Seven and Francois Negret as villains. Veteran actor Bùi Bài Bình and actresses Chiều Xuân and Kim Xuân also join the film. — VNS