Film sheds light on Indochina war

Update: August, 01/2014 - 08:50

Looking back: The Vietnamese documentary makers meet with Pierre Bonny, a former French soldier who was in the Indochina war. — Photo courtesy of film crew

HA NOI (VNS) — The war between Viet Nam and France (1946-54) will receive comprehensive coverage in a new documentary directed by Dao Thanh Tung.

The documentary entitled Chien Tranh Dong Duong (The Indochina War) was shot in Viet Nam and France under the auspices of the Department of Cinematography.

Director Tung prepared the script for more than a year, grounding it in historical research. The four-episodes: Duong Den Doc Lap Tu Do (Road to The Independence and Freedom); Cuoc Chien Trong Vong Vay (Battle in Blockade); Truong Ky Khang Chien (The Long Term Resistance War); Cuoc Chien Van Con Tiep Dien (The War Still Continues) is among few documentaries on Indochina war produced by Vietnamese.

"Vietnamese audiences will have a change to watch documentaries about the Indochina war which were made by foreign filmmakers. It is rare to have the chance to make such a film," said Tung.

In 1955, Russian army reporter and director Roman Carmen worked with a Viet Nam National Documentary and Scientific Film Studio cameramen to make the popular documentary Viet Nam Tren Duong Thang Loi (Viet Nam on The Road to Victory). The original was stored in the studio and aired on local television stations, according to director Tung.

The five-member crew led by Viet Nam National Centre Documentary Studio director Pham Thi Tuyet also visited France to shoot the film.

Thanks to the support of overseas Vietnamese in France, the film crew met two French witnesses, Pierre Bonny and Jacque Bonfils, living in Lyon.

During the interview, both expressed their impression of the Vietnamese people they met during the war and did not complain about their time in captivity.

"At the age of 90, they are still strong and sharp minded. They told us how much they loved Viet Nam and that Viet Nam would always be in their hearts," said Tung.

"There are many reasons to say that but I think that it was because they were treated well by Vietnamese when they surrendered in Viet Nam."

The film crew also met with two other Vietnamese witnesses, Viet Nam People's Army colonel Nguyen Su and diplomat Huynh Van Khanh.

Additionally, Tung travelled across Viet Nam to find survivors of the war but was challenged by the fading memories of elderly witnesses. To ensure the accuracy of the stories narrated in the film, the crew interviewed witness from different sides to guarantee objectivity.

The documentary will allow audiences to follow the historic chain of events when the French colonialists attacked Da Nang and began the war to invade Viet Nam in 1858.

The Indochina war began in 1946 between French forces and Viet Minh troops led by President Ho Chi Minh and legendary general Vo Nguyen Giap.

The fighting took place in the north of Viet Nam. The conflict engulfed the entire country and extended into the neighbouring then-French protectorates of Laos and Cambodia.

The film is expected to be released in August. — VNS