Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Song Lang (The Tap Box), a film about the art of cải lương (reformed opera) has been honoured at the third edition of the Sharm El-Sheikh Asian Film Festival (SAFF) which takes place on March 2-8 in Egypt.
Overseas Vietnamese director Leon Lê won the award for best director while his film Song Lang grabbed the Samir Farid Prize for the best feature film. It’s the only Vietnamese entry competing with 12 other films in this category.
This year, the SAFF gathered 58 films from 26 Asian countries such as India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Iran and Azerbaijan.
Song Lang is Le’s first feature length film and was written by himself and Nguyễn Thị Minh Ngọc.
Through the career of Linh Phụng, a young performer who makes sacrifices to pursue his dream, the film features cải lương artists in Sài Gòn in the 1980s, focusing on the challenges they face to preserve their art. The 100-year history and development of cải lương is also reflected.
The film stars pop singer and actor Issac, winner of the Rising Star of Asia’s Star Awards at the 21st Busan International Festival in 2016, and young actors Tú Quyên and Liên Bỉnh Phát.
Lê was born in 1977 in Việt Nam. When he was 13, he moved to the US with his family and carved out a successful career in musical theatre on Broadway in New York as an actor, before starting to write and direct short films. Song Lang also competed in the Tokyo International Film Festival 2018 (TIFF) where Phát won the Tokyo Gemstone award.
SAFF is a non-profit cultural event organised by the Noon Foundation for Culture and Arts. It is held in Sharm El-Sheikh, with the contribution and support of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. The festival hosts an annual competition for filmmakers and films with aim to introduce Asian cinema to the Arab world.
Song Lang will be screened at the San Diego Asian Film Festival on April 12-17 in San Diego, California, then Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in May. — VNS