Viet Nam News
By Thu Anh
HCM CITY — The film Ngôi Nhà Bươm Bươm Bướm (Butterfly House), a production about a gay couple by director Huỳnh Tuấn Anh, will be release next month by Lotte Entertainment Việt Nam.
The film is adapted from La Cage aux Folles (The cage of mad women), a French play written by Jean Poiret in 1973. Folles is also a slang term for effeminate men.
The play was first staged on Broadway in 1983 and won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.
Since it debut, the play has been staged and adapted into a film many times.
The Vietnamese version, Ngôi Nhà Bươm Bướm, tells stories of love, betrayal and family issues. LGBT rights are also highlighted.
The film focuses on a young bride named Mai who discovers secrets about her groom’s family on their wedding day.
The film’s director Anh used young star Liên Bỉnh Phát and pop singer-actress Hoàng Yến Chibi to play leading roles.
Phát performed in Song Lang (The Tap Box), a film about the 100-year history and development of cải lương (reformed opera), a genre of traditional theatre in South Việt Nam, by Vietnamese-American Broadway dancer and film director Leon Lê last year.
He played a cải lương performer who falls in love with his male colleague and makes sacrifices to pursue his dream.
Phát spent several days practising singing and dancing cải lương with experts.
His performance left a very strong impression on audiences.
He won the Tokyo Gemstone Award in the Best Newcomer category at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2018.
In Ngôi Nhà Bươm Bướm, Phát performs with Meritorious Artist Thành Lộc, and Vietnamese-American comedians Quang Minh and Hồng Đào.
“I hope to develop my professional career after playing in Ngôi Nhà Bươm Bướm,” said Phát, who is also a fashion model and dancer.
The film will be released next month.
Film director Anh, a graduate of HCM City University of Theatre & Cinematography, has worked hard on Ngôi Nhà Bươm Bướm, a serious feature film.
“I want my films to address serious issues. I want my audiences, particularly young people, to think about life after watching,” said Anh, who has worked as a secondary school teacher in Vietnamese literature.
His previous film, Gạo Chợ Nước Sông (Rice Market and River) was a feature about travelling cải lương troupes in the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region in the 1970s.
The VNĐ14 billion (US$615,000) film portrays cải lương performers living in Bạc Liêu and Cà Mau provinces, home of the art, who were once farmers. Their love and devotion for cải lương are depicted in the film.
It is based on Cuối Mùa Nhan Sắc (The End of Beauty), a short story by female writer Nguyễn Ngọc Tư, winner of the ASEAN Literature Awards presented by the Thai Royal Family in 2008.
Anh and his staff rebuilt Tây Sài Gòn Theatre (now HCM City Opera House), which offered the first show of cải lương in November 1918.
The show, titled Gia Long Tẩu Quốc (King Gia Long Travels to the West), features events before the reign of Nguyễn Dynasty in the 1780s.
Gạo Chợ Nước Sông was released last year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of cải lương.
“My producers spent several billions on đồng on my works, so I do not want to have any mistake during filming,” said 35-year old Anh, who worked on plays before becoming involved in film. — VNS