How to make Huế city a real film studio

November 21, 2019 - 22:05
The central city of Huế is potentially a giant film studio amid a widespread lack of locations for shooting historical movies.


Ngọ Môn (Meridian Gate, also called South Gate), the main gate to the Imperial Citadel City of Huế, is a tourist attraction and shooting location for many filming makers. The site is also one of the valuable heritage sites in the city. NVA/VNS Photo Quốc Việt

HÀ NỘI – The central city of Huế is potentially a giant film studio amid a widespread lack of locations for shooting historical movies.

With natural landscapes and ancient architectural sites, filmmakers see Huế as their number one option. However, the question is how to exploit that advantage to benefit both film producers and local authorities.

Celebrated movies like Cô Gái Trên Sông (The Girl on the River), Đông Dương (Indochina), Ngọn Nến Hoàng Cung (The Royal Candle) and Dòng Sông Phằng Lặng (The Quite River) were all partially shot in Huế. 

Nàng Dâu Xứ Huế (The Bride of Huế City) is a project currently being shot in the central city.

The Bride of Huế City is part of a project to promote Huế tourism via cinema which was launched in June.

It is also is the sequel to the project Nàng thơ xứ Huế (The Muse of Huế), which cast included Miss Tourism Huế 2015 Lê Trần Ngọc Trân, and wasd played on domestic and international flights of Vietnam Airlines and South Korean KBS World television channel since January of 2019.

The 20-episode long The Muse of Huế introduced the culture, cuisine, tourism and lifestyle of the city and Việt Nam, and was shot at beautiful spots like Phước Tích ancient village and An Hiên garden house.

Mắt Biếc (Blue Eyes), a movie by Vietnamese overseas director Victor Vũ, scheduled to be shown this Christmas, also has many scenes shot in the city and Hà Cảng Village, Quảng Điền District.

Although the city has become an ideal filming location for many movie makers, they have to think twice about choosing it.

Making a cinematic work in Huế, including movies about the city or just a scene shot in Huế, is not simple.

Movies needed to illuminate particular features of the city, with the cast having the city’s characteristics.

According to screenwriter Trần Thùy Mai, two of the main reasons for producers are weather and accent.

“It rains a lot, and it has a bad impact on the shooting procedure.

"Moreover, modern films are made by recorded directly instead of dubbing like before.

"Very few actors can do a Huế accent, since it is one of the hardest accents to do,” said Mai.

Making Huế a film studio is a win-win for both film makers and local authorities, giving producers a stunning backdrop and enhancing the city's image.

However, according to many directors, there is a need for co-operation among producers, the city’s People Committee and Huế World Heritage Centre, alongside encouragement and good conditions for film makers by authorities to help them promote the city.

Four years ago, to shoot some scenes of the movie Thái Sư Trần Thủ Độ (General Trần Thủ Độ), the crew made a few direct changes to Sùng Ân Temple in the Tomb of Emperor of Nguyễn Dynasty Minh Mạng, and turned the whole space to a palace of another unknown empress of the Lý Dynasty.

This angered the descendants of the Nguyễn Dynasty, culture researchers and citizens of Huế. Director of the movie, Nguyễn Tất Bình, later explained to local media that the changes were approved by the Ministry of Culture and Information.

Director of Huế World Heritage Centre Phan Thanh Hải said after the case of the Minh Mạng Tomb, the centre learnt a lesson and there would be tight security to assist movie crews on making films inside chosen locations in the city. VNS