We should keep moving forward: director

September 04, 2022 - 08:14
Film director Nguyễn Phan Quang Bình has been a popular name of Vietnamese cinema with various significant films like “Cánh Đồng Bất Tận” (The Floating Lives), “Vũ Khúc Con Cò” (The Fork’s Dance), “Quyên”, “Bí Mật Của Gió” (Secret of the Wind). He chats with Hương Trân about his career.

Film director Nguyễn Phan Quang Bình is a popular name in Vietnamese cinema with hit films like Cánh Đồng Bất Tận (The Floating Lives), Vũ Khúc Con Cò (Dance of the Stork), Quyên and Bí Mật Của Gió (Secret of the Wind). He chats with Hương Trân about his career.

Director Nguyễn Phan Quang Bình works at a filming site. Photo idolvnnet.com

Inner Sanctum: The pandemic has changed things a lot. What has it done to you and to cinema?

I have seen some encouraging signals in cinema markets with certain remarks as well as a rush of filmmakers. Once the pandemic was under control, filmmakers seemed to hurry to make movies.

The pressure in time seemed to affect the quality of films while audiences now are pickier.

At the cinema, I think we should keep moving forward and continue to work because if we don’t go ahead, we’ll never reach our destination. We have experienced failures but some achievements also.

We expect some high-quality films in the near future. Names like Nguyễn Quang Dũng, Nam Cito - Bảo Nhân, Ngô Thanh Vân and Vũ Ngọc Đãng will bring new wind this year.

Inner Sanctum: How do you judge if a film is worth seeing?

We haven’t got films with high-quality visual effects and mass scale like Doctor Strange. We have relied on film stars to sell tickets as we have just a few stars.

I think the screenplay should have something special to lure the audience to the cinema. Each film project should make people curious. For example, in Vũ Ngọc Đãng’s film, the public is curious to see how the hot girl Ngọc Trinh will act.

I don’t know how she acts, but she is the factor that lures people to the cinema.

Or for Người Đẹp Tây Đô (Miss Beauty of the West Capital), director Nguyễn Quang Dũng is building the background of seven big market sites in the western region of southern Việt Nam. This shows that directors and producers are more aware of investing in their films and creating new factors to encourage the audience.

Inner Sanctum: What do you think about introducing Vietnamese films to the world?

I think of two ways to introduce Vietnamese films. First, films joining international festivals should have burning issues and express the director’s selflessness. Second, we can bring films to screens in big markets like the US and other developed countries. The important thing is that we can find a particular language and a special way to express it.

The special language is the director’s selflessness and Vietnamese cinema’s culture as a way of making films and a new way of expression.

We are trying to make a difference from countries like Thailand or Japan.

Inner Sanctum: Is the screenplay always the key factor in cinema?

That’s our weakness. We have no proper class in writing screenplays for films. The script is the foundation of a film, while the director is the person who tries to tell the story with suitable highlights. The screenplay is always the most important thing. If we don’t have a good screenplay, we will not have films that are welcomed by the public.

A scene from 'Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy' produced by BHD company founded by Nguyễn Phan Quang Bình. Photo congluan.vn

Inner Sanctum: What are our difficulties when telling our own stories?

When bringing Vietnamese cinema to the world, we need a new and extraordinary language to express the identity of the industry. There is a young generation who have proper training and a new way of telling their stories.

We cannot introduce films overseas with only a few people’s efforts. We need the whole industry to join in expressing stories in the most simple and alluring ways.

Besides my company, BHD, producers like Ngô Thanh Vân and Trương Ngọc Ánh are exploiting topics of national pride and self-respect.

If each person contributes, we can advertise Vietnamese films in wider areas and in a better way.

Inner Sanctum: In this process, producers have their own plans. What about BHD?

After the movie Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy, we are planning for other films. We carefully choose the content and topics before producing, including for commercial films and historical films.

We have bought the copyright for a movie project from the author of the book Perfect Spy about the legendary intelligence General Phạm Xuân Ẩn. He worked secretly for the Việt Nam People's Army in the heart of the American-backed Sài Gòn regime between 1950 and 1975.

We also have other projects like Tấm Ván Phóng Dao (If Wood Could Cry, It Could Cry Blood), which just competed at the Asian Project Market 2021 at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. The film is based on a novel of the same name by writer Mạc Can. The story is about the fates of residents in the Mekong River Delta during French colonial times. VNS