Film Industry of Vietnam

Nowadays, in comparison to a decade ago, the film industry in Vietnam has greatly advanced. Thanks to open-door policies from the government and endless efforts from faithful staff that bring about considerable improvement in equipment and qualifications of directors and actors, Vietnam can now be proud of films that have gained international recognition such as “The Buffalo Boy”, “Don’t Burn” and “The Rebel”. These works, with their high value in humanity and pleasing effects, mark the milestones for the young industry.


The Buffalo Boy

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The Buffalo Boy (Mùa len trâu in Vietnamese, Le Gardien des Buffles in French) is a 2004 film directed by Minh Nguyen-Vo. The movie was the official entry from Vietnam for Best Foreign Language Film category at the 78th Academy Awards.


Plot summary: Set along the southern coast of Vietnam during the French occupation in the 1940s, water is everywhere, giving life and bringing decay and rot. Kim is 15; his father and step-mother have two buffalo, their lifeline as subsistence rice farmers. During the rainy season, there’s no grass and the buffalo are starving. Kim volunteers to take the beasts inland to find food. On this coming-of-age journey, Kim sees men mistreat women, men fight with men, and French taxes rob the poor. He works for Lap, a buffalo herder whose past is entangled with Kim’s parents, and he makes friends who will lead him to his place in the world.


Don’t Burn

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(Đừng đốt in Vietnamese) Directed by pre-eminent Vietnamese film maker Ðặng Nhật Minh, the film is based on the published diary of Dr Đặng Thùy Trâm. The diary became a best-seller in Vietnam, published as Nhật kỳ Đặng Thùy Trâm, and has been much acclaimed in translation as Last Night I Dreamed of Peace.

Plot summary: “Don’t Burn” is the story of a female doctor, Đặng Thùy Trâm, from Hanoi. During the war, she headed an infirmary in a war-ravaged area where, according to her diary, “death can be easier than having a meal.” The diary returned to her family by an American veteran, document her love for people, her burning longings for her family and relatives, and her dreams about peace. This war diary has the strength to bring people of different colors and political viewpoints closer. It is a rarity. If one can call this film propaganda, it must be propaganda about the love among human beings.” Recently, “Dung dot” won the Fukuoka Audience Award at the 2009 Fukuoka International Film Festival. (From: and

The Rebel

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The Rebel (Dòng máu anh hùng in Vietnamese) is a 2007 Vietnamese martial arts film directed by Charlie Nguyen and starring Johnny Tri Nguyen and Dustin Nguyen.

Plot Summary: Vietnam in 1922 is under colonial French ruling, and anti-French rebellions by peasants have emerged all over the country. In response, the French have activated units of Vietnamese secret agents to track and destroy the rebels. One agent is Le Van Cuong. Although branded with a perfect track record, Cuong’s inner conscience is troubled by the sea of Vietnamese blood he has spilled. Following an assassination of a high ranking French official, Cuong is assigned to seek and kill the notorious leader of the resistance. Cuong encounters Vo Thanh Thuy, a relentless revolutionary fighter and the daughter of the rebel leader. She is captured and imprisoned by Cuong’s cruel superior, Sy. Cuong suspects that Sy knew about the attack on the French official before it happened, and could have prevented it. Suspicious, he warns Thuy that her organization has a mole, helps break her out of prison and becomes a fugitive himself. Her fiery patriotism inspires Cuong, and he develops feelings for the young woman as well. Meanwhile, Sy is tracking Cuong and Thuy, knowing the pair will lead him to Thuy’s father. It premiered on April 12, 2007 at the Vietnamese International Film Festival in Irvine, California. It was released on April 27, 2007 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and played as the Closing Night film at the 2007 VC FilmFest in Los Angeles. It was also featured at the 2007 Bangkok International Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, and was the Opening Night screening at the 2007 Mammoth Film Festival.

(From: )


Nonetheless, it comes as an obvious fact that such a young and immature industry has met obstacles. Inexperience and hastiness have led to numerous pieces which are superficially made and sloppily conveyed. Following ever-changing curiosity of the crowd, some directors as well as producers have given the true audience a real chance to think and judge after watching their ill-cared movies. Talking about the content, there are films which are xenomaniac. That means everything seen was borrowed from other countries, from clothing, hair, manners, background…to plots, situations, dialogs, music.


Mùi ngò gai

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“Mùi ngò gai” fell short of viewers’ expectation when appearing to be a Korean product, presenting neither traditional nor practical values.

Song: Dòng Thời Gian – Đoàn Phi (Mùi ngò gai OST)

Song: Saldaga – SG Wannabe (the original Korean version)

(Why do we have to borrow everything, from scenario to soundtrack?)

Giải cứu Thần Chết

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Do Vietnamese students wear uniform like this?

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High School Musical (Vietnam version)

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Others emphasized on sensitive aspects to attract moviegoers, lacking in depths of meaning. “Chuông reo là bắn” with sexuality, “Trai nhảy” with homosexuality were merely amusing that stayed in the mind no longer than a few minutes after the end. About acting, the number of amateur actors is increasing. Not academically trained, they are cast for their popularity in singing or modeling and of course, they can hardly fulfill the roles with emotionless face and awkward gestures which make scenes a stage for physical beauty (and that of sponsors, too).


Chuông reo là bắn

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Some of (A LOT) unnecessary hot scenes in the film

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Trai nhảy

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Advertising scenes for sponsors 😀

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Enormous profits from such movies have reflected the low taste of the majority, or more specific, the young. They often thoughtlessly imitate foreigners, denying their own culture and customs. Often lamely comparing Vietnamese films to that of Western countries or Korea, they prefer actions, guns, cars, hot scenes and campy stories to familiar, close-to-heart themes in their homeland. They, as the most active and rather entertainment-demanding class, cast inarguable impact upon the industry. To meet their likings, films have to ape and mix with non-traditional styles that can turn out to be a mess with manifold illogicalities and impertinence. It is under no debate that there are many things to learn from other lands, nevertheless, it will be more beneficial if new techniques, understanding and view-points come with good selection and adaptation. On the other hand, Vietnamese classics like “Đất rừng phương nam” have been loved for years for native-ness and truthfulness, not an iota for exotic-ness.


Đất Phương Nam

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(The soundtracks of this film are very stunning but I cannot upload these songs to my entry. >_< )


In spite of deficiencies, recent development in the film industry of Vietnam cannot be disacknowledged. More and more works are produced each year, performances get better and better, international film festivals are more attended, and, what is most important, more and more attentions are paid through either praises or criticisms. There are no less people who do care about the seventh art of Vietnam than ones who just enjoy nonsense or worship money. To put Vietnam on the map of filmmaking, enthusiasm and perseverance from filmmakers as well as encouragement and appreciation from the audience are all require, which, ultimately, must transcend.


Name: Lê Nguyễn Quỳnh Tiên

Student ID: BAAU09313

[Waiting for your comments. ^^]


13 responses to “Film Industry of Vietnam

  1. Trương Thành Luân

    WORK HARD !! ^^
    You’re topic is so hot, pictures is hot also! lol !! i like you post very much!. I think there’s something wrong with your writing. May be you made some too long sentences. but it’s ok.!
    I admired your English too :D. keep working hard^^

  2. Trương Ngọc Diễm Phương

    -Thanks so much for your writing^^!!.
    -I agree with you that our country’s film industry keeps on developing in a rapid speed, more films more performances are produced which are getting better and better.However, these work of arts should be carefully seen through before making…
    -I like your writing very much, keep on working hard!

  3. Lê Nguyễn Quỳnh Tiên

    @Luân: thanks a lot. ^^ I got a little help from my friend, so don’t admire my English, it’s not that good. >< Thank you for pointing out my trouble. I have re-read my entry. It has a lot of long sentences. @__@ I will try to fix it. ^^
    @Phương: Thank you my friend! :-*

  4. ehe i’m third (i should have cry… Luan! give me my stamp!!!!)

    OMG have anyone, i mean ANYONE told you you a genius???? the topic is a BOMB,and with all the pictures, soundtrack, the film you choose to support your opinion… LOVE IT LOVE IT LVOE IT XDXDXDXDXD

    Yeah i remember now, i havent watched the film “chuong reo la ban” yet, but i DID hear people call that film “chuong reo la coi”, becos it has too much hot scene ^^”

  5. forgot to say… good job~! I enjoyed it a lot, and i knew it was hard time for you….

    Love you~~

    Che Nhu Ngoc

  6. well, I have to say that your entry is very meticulous!!! I did try my best in my recent entry but I just could not make it like yours TT~TT. Show me when we meet in class, okay?

    The topic is very “hot” too! There are numerous things involves Film industry in VN if we wanna discuss.

    Among the films you uploaded above, I only watched “The rebel” and I think it was very good, very worth spending money to watch ^^
    The others like “Giải cứu thần chết” or “Chuông reo là bắn” I haven’t watch but I heard that it’s bad!

  7. Well…that’s an interesting topic…speaking out Vietnamese’s thought and simply reveal the true quality of movies in Vietnam…Sadly to say, so far most of the ideas given out have been stolen mostly from “Korea”… in one way or another…and I wonder WHY??? Are we so stupid to get something of our own? What’s the point of “hot scenes” and models*(the unskilled and untrained…getting up there to show their body (as you said)) and the most serious problems are:” those movies are being considered as “cool living style” of today so called “teenagers”, it has embarked roots deeply in their mind:” the dressing way, the speaking way, the thinking way, the behaving way…so horrible!!!”…and if we don’t pull ourselves together quickly we’ll soon become “the second Korea”…!!!
    Thanks a lot for the post. It’s hard to say it’s not good…! 🙂

  8. Lê Nguyễn Quỳnh Tiên

    @Micky: ohhhhh! Love you so much. You make me feel embarrassing. :”> I’m not that good. I just try my best with some help from my genius friend (not me, I’m not a genius for sure >_<). Thank you for loving my entry. I give you another stamp XD!! About "Chuong reo la ban", I heard that converted name, so funny, but it's suitable for that film, which showing nothing but sexy scenes. =="
    @Ngọc: thank you so much for your compliment. I like "The Rebel" too. I saw it twice. ^^
    @Kit.: OMG, you really surprise me!!! Thank you for your comment (I just had told you in 12pm yesterday, how could you post your comment at 2pm??? Love you!!!). Yep, our late 9X generation think these styles are cool, so many filmmakers try to follow these trends. You seemed to be (too) angry, right? Uhmm.. But we should angry. ^^ Because if we just ignore these horrible films, these filmmakers who care about profit only will continue making these "dirty" films (we don't watch it, but many others like these films =="). So, we should make it seriously!!! It's not only about FILM, but also about OUR VIETNAMESE CULTURE!!!

  9. I think you can become a good business because you can choose and write a top which everyone like and notice in this century.
    Now, I do not want to comment anything about your topic because it is so nearly perfect and I do not any ideas 😀
    In this month, they have many films ( Included Film of VietNam) I want to invite you to go with me and watch that film ^^

  10. Thank you. I can understand and know about film from VietNam. Working hard that I really like from you and wish I could do as same as you ^^

  11. Lê Nguyễn Quỳnh Tiên

    @Tu: ohh…you have really really really high opinion of me. >_< (you use a lot BIG words @_@)
    Anyway, thank you for your compliment! Let watch "Bay Rong", I want to see if it's as good as The Rebel or not.

  12. It is true. I will give you 2 reason for my opinion
    1.You were working hard everyone who commented told that

    2. Truong Thanh Luan
    You’re topic is so hot, pictures is hot also! lol !! i like you post very much
    the topic is a BOMB,and with all the pictures, soundtrack, the film you choose to support your opinion… LOVE IT LOVE IT LVOE IT XDXDXDXDXD
    Well…that’s an interesting topic

    That means your topic which you choose and write very well ^^. That why I said ” you can become a good business”

    Big word… wrong ^^ (normal words :P)
    Keep on and Goodluck
    I am waiting to go with you and watch that film haaaa =)). It will be excited

  13. wow!!! I am You Y, Cambodian, I am really interested in your writing about Vietnam film industry. While recently I am researching about the film industry in Vietnam, which i find it quite similar to my country, so do you have any documents or links that u can give, so that I can find more for my research (:

    thanks in advance

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