Film portraying last Queen of Việt Nam to be shot next year

May 26, 2024 - 09:43
The film aims not to reflect a specific period in the nation's history, but rather to draw inspiration from the life story of Queen Nam Phương to portray a real historical figure on screen.
EMPRESS CONSORT: Queen Nam Phương. Photos coutersy of the film crew

By Nguyễn Bình

The life of the last queen consort of Việt Nam, Queen Nam Phương (1913-1963) is set to be portrayed in a motion picture for the first time, focusing on her 10 years in Huế Imperial City before she left Việt Nam to settle in France with her children.

The film will be shot next year in collaboration with Galaxy Studio, HKFilm and MAR6 Studios. The script is inspired by the novel Tình Sử Nam Phương Hoàng Hậu (Queen Nam Phương's Love Story) by Trần Thị Hảo, and a history book by Lê Lan Khanh.

"The Imperial City of Huế is where the Queen had the most beautiful memories in her life," said the film directors Bảo Nhân and Namcito at a working session with Thừa Thiên Huế People's Committee [provincial government] this month.

"Queen Nam Phương always shone with intellect, virtue, talent, and agility to survive amid the turmoil of her time."

Bảo Nhân and Namcito will co-direct the film. They have worked together before, making the well-known chick-flick series Gái Già Lắm Chiêu (Camellia Sisters).

Director Nhân provided an overview of the film project The Last Queen and introduced the directorial, production, distribution team, and film production plan.

The Last Queen has been prepared and invested in since 2020, drawing from a vast historical archive about Queen Nam Phương and the Nguyễn Dynasty.

The film aims not to reflect a specific period in the nation's history, but rather to draw inspiration from the life story of Queen Nam Phương to portray a real historical figure on screen.

It focuses on the period of over 10 years that the Queen spent in the royal palace, exploring various aspects of her married life, from happiness to sorrow, with King Bảo Đại, until the day the royal family left the Imperial City to start a quiet life abroad.

Nguyễn Thanh Bình, the provincial permanent deputy chairman, said he appreciated the film shooting in Huế City.

Bình suggested that the film crew needed to have their own perspective of the land and people of Huế so would have their personal feelings in the process of developing the film's script.

"The relevant bodies in the province will create better conditions for the film crew, and we hope that the film will help publicise the scenery, history and people of Huế City," Bình said.

"The film crew needs to develop detailed plans to execute the scenes. They must coordinate with all sections to carefully prepare."

Through the project, Thừa Thiên Huế will become a giant film studio for filmmakers amid a widespread lack of locations for shooting historical movies with natural landscapes and ancient architectural sites.

A board has been set up under the provincial umbrella to support the filmmakers. Deputy director of Thừa Thiên Huế Institute for Research and Development Phan Thúy Vân has been appointed head of the board.

The Last Queen will mainly be shot at Kiến Trung Palace - the living and working space of King Bảo Đại and Queen Nam Phương and their children.

MAGNIFICENT: Kiến Trung Palace, the living and working space of King Bảo Đại and Queen Nam Phương with their children will be main setting of the film 'The Last Queen'.

Kiến Trung Palace was built between 1921 and 1923 during the reign of King Khải Định (1885-1925). The palace is an important historical work, marking a unique and special period that complements the traditional Huế royal design.

Its architecture meets the characteristics of an Indochina-style building, with a combination of Asian and European influences.

The film also portrays Đức Từ Cung - the mother of King Bảo Đại, a traditional Vietnamese woman, who showed much love and sacrifice for her family and resolute determination to protect and preserve the cultural values and beliefs of the royal family and the nation.

TEAM PLAYERS: Thừa Thiên Huế provincial leaders and the film crew meet to work on the film project.

Queen Nam Phương, born Marie-Thérèse Nguyễn Hữu Thị Lan, was the first and primary wife of the last King Bảo Đại of Việt Nam from 1934 until her death. She also was the first and only queen consort of the Nguyễn Dynasty.

The Last Queen will be shot in Huế City, Central Highlands city of Đà Lạt, HCM City and Chabrignac - a small rural village in Corrèze, France, where the Queen stayed during her last days.

The film crew is planning the casting and the picture will be released in 2026 by Galaxy Studio and HK Film. VNS