Veteran documentary director releases new book

June 12, 2020 - 13:26

Veteran director Đào Trọng Khánh has just published a book on his experience during his 50-year career working as a documentary maker.

HÀ NỘI — Veteran director Đào Trọng Khánh has just published a book on his experience during his 50-year career working as a documentary maker.

The 500-page book, titled Đất & Người (Land & People), includes his pieces of writing and historical documents as well as images, many of which have been used to make his documentaries.

Veteran director Đào Trọng Khánh (second from right) introduces his book at the headquarters of the Writers Association Publishing House in Hà Nội on June 10. Photo

The book is divided into two parts, namely Revolution and Land & People. The first part consists of various pieces on the August Revolution, President Hồ Chí Minh, General Võ Nguyên Giáp, Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng, the price of victory, sacrifice of innocent people and soldiers at the moment of reunification at midday on April 30, 1975.

The latter part gathers Khánh’s writing on colleagues, who are great names in Vietnamese literature and art, like photographer Võ An Ninh, painter Nguyễn Tư Nghiêm, film director Hồng Sến, and poets Lưu Quang Vũ, Thi Hoàng and Thanh Tùng.

According to painter Lê Thiết Cương, when writing on his artist friends, Khánh is very delicated in picking special characteristics of each person he describes.

“Everyone has their own unique appearance and nature,” Cương said. “During the war painter Lưu Công Nhân wore flowery shirts and shorts. He stood as tall as a foreign man drying himself under the sun by the river. Poet Thanh Tùng wore the dirty blue uniform of a factory worker. When he recited a poem, his eyes would turn red.”

Khánh also wrote many pieces on the northern coastal city of Hải Phòng, where he was born and grew up with various proper names like Sở Dầu, Sáu Kho, Chợ Sắt and Tam Bạc.

On his travels throughout the country, he has more than once found stones that represent wives waiting for their husbands.

“The stones are the wives of soldiers that had marched into battle and never returned home,” he wrote. “The wives carried their babies to high mountains to wait for the husbands. After a long time, they turned to stone. Only gentle-natured people, who have suffered wars, can create such painful legends of loyalty in the past thousands of years.”

Director and People’s Artist Đào Trọng Khánh was born in 1940 in Kiến Thụy, Hải Phòng City. In early 1960, before starting his cinema career, he worked at Hải Phòng Port during the American War.

In 1965, Khánh started his work as a documentary maker. He shot historic documentaries on Hải Phòng air strikes by American bombers.

He has worked for many years in the Central Documentary and Science Documentary Studio, where he has acted as a writer and director in dozens of documentaries.

Cover of the book.

The documentaries that he was involved in have always had a special style regardless of his role. He is considered one of the leading documentary directors and producers of Vietnamese cinema.

He has been awarded the People’s Artist title, the highest of its kind in the year 2000, and the State Prize in Literature and Arts in 2007. — VNS