Eight documentary films, including four Vietnamese films will be screened during the International Documentary Film Week which is due to be held in Hanoi from June 15 to 19. The event not only features a wide range of topics explored by Vietnamese and western filmmakers but also holds out a chance for domestic filmmakers to learn from their international colleagues.
The film week does not seek to be simply a presentation of western documentaries but also aims to offer a cross-view on a wide range of topics. Eight films to be on screen include ‘Losers and Winners’ from Germany, ‘There was Once… The Delights of the Small World’ from the Italy, War Photographer from The Switzerland, ‘Mizike Mama’ from Belgium (Wallonie-Bruxelles) and four Vietnamese films ‘Gam Cau Mat Nuoc’ (Under the Bridge), ‘Bai Ca Tren Dinh Ta Lung’ (A Song on Ta Lung Peak”, ‘Tro Lai Ngu Thuy’ (Back to Ngu Thuy) and ‘Mot Trich Doan Cu’ (An Old Extract) all from the Vietnam National Studio for Documentary and Scientific Film.
These international documentaries will be screened in conjunction with Vietnamese counterparts, thus “creating an opportunity for analysis of various approaches to this visual expression form,” according to the organisers.
‘Losers and Winners’ and ‘Under the Bridge’ will open the event next Monday. The documentary film from Germany reflects the conflicts between Chinese and German workers in disassembly of a coking plant in Germany for removal to China. The audience is left to decide who the winners were and who were the losers in the cause of demolition in the west and construction in the east.
‘Under the Bridge’ features various destinies from all corners of the country who gather in a floating village under the LongBienBridge. And despite suffering with many difficulties, people living there still lean on each other with a little hope for a positive future.
The films ‘There was once … The Delights of the Small World’ and ‘A Song on Ta Lung Peak’ depict the same theme: the life of people living in mountainous areas. The two films share the similarities in the lifestyle of mountainous people who despite difficulties are still very optimistic with the love for the modest and essential cuisine of the far off land (in the Italian film) or the love for the homeland by H’Mong ethnic people (in the Vietnamese film).
Two films about the war: ‘War Photographer’ and ‘Back to Ngu Thuy’ touch upon the life of people during the war and post war years. The ‘War Photographer’ won awards at 12 International Film Festivals while ‘Back to Ngu Thuy’ won a prize at the Asia – Pacific Film Festival in 1998.
‘Mizike Mama’ and ‘An Old Extract’ share the same theme of music. The Belgium documentary chronicles the formation and international success of Zap Mama, a five woman acappella singing group formed by Marie Daulnem, whose father was Geilgian and mother Zairian. ‘Old Extract’ shows the passion of the residents in Khuong Ha, Quang Binh province for Tuong (classical opera). The film wants to send a message of “The folk art will occupy a strong and eternal place in people’s lives.”
According to the organisers, the similarities bring a speciality to the film week and hopefully attract more audiences.
Director of the Vietnam National Studio for Documentary and Scientific Film Le Hong Chuong said this is also an opportunity for Vietnamese filmmakers to learn from their international colleagues when dealing with the same theme.
After many decades in which commercial cinema has been dominated by feature films, in recent years the documentary films have earned an increasing acceptance as popular film genre and an ever-growing acclaim from audience.
The documentary genre has expanded beyond depicting supposedly true pictures of real life, to the point where production of documentary films can permit the makers to, among other things, realise their creative will in telling a larger ‘truth’.
The Film Week will end with the workshop on June 19 to provide the opportunity for a deeper examination of contemporary documentary films and a discussion among Vietnamese and international filmmakers.
The film week is jointly organised by the Goethe Institute, The Italian Embassy in Vietnam, The Swiss Embassy in Vietnam, the Wallonia- Brussels Delegation and the Vietnam National Studio for Documentary and Scientific Film.