Nearly 70 years since Doan Gioi’s work was born, nearly 80 years compared to the context of the story, nearly 30 years since the story was adapted into a TV series, why do you want to tell the story at that time? This?
Belonging to the 7X generation, I was also a fan of the TV series Southern Forest Land, and also had the “original” of the Southwest region. To some extent, I am like An, with a journey to discover and experience a strange land. Discover the love that your parents have for you, discover the emotional relationships of the Southern people you meet. And discover the ideals their parents had pursued and hoped for…
I was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, before I followed my parents back to my hometown in a flash and was not impressed. But later when my parents died, there was a school named after my father in my hometown, so I went back to visit. Now that I’m older and more thoughtful, I wonder how my parents lived during the war, what their choices and ideals were back then…
In my opinion, every generation has the pursuit of happiness, but each time is different, so each generation will have different desires and actions. So, each story told by different generations offers different perspectives, and it’s interesting when a story is told again and again.
I always love stories of discovering myself and the people around me. Almost all of my movies revolve around the question: What do I really want?
His father (writer Nguyen Quang Sang) also has many works associated with the Southern region, also used to be the scriptwriter of the famous movie. Open fields. It’s been 9 years since he passed away, why is he still not interested in adapting his father’s works?
My father and I are 46 years apart. Also quite far. When we are young, often we will be extroverted, both in life and career. As I grow older, I will start to have a tendency to go deeper inside and want to find memories… Currently I have plans to make a movie from my story and my father’s stories that have not been printed yet. into a book. But it’s also because it’s so important that I need more time.
There are also many people who want to adapt the story The Ivory Comb and many other stories of their father. For me, anyone who can do anything well, I support, not necessarily me. Don’t put too much weight on this or that.
In order to have a project, the following conditions must be met: investors, their ability and conditions, and a sense of the right time of the market. You know, a serious film project, especially of such genres, is very expensive and takes time to make the stories of the past reach the present generation.
Take care of each scene in the movie
There is concern that Southern forest land enough… the “heels Achilles” by Dung Khuyen: emotion (he is said to be rational) + scene description (he was once blamed for… arranging fake flowers on a very beautiful lawn in Da Lat during Kiss of Death) + directing child acting…, don’t you think?
Sometimes I and other people have different opinions. Some of my movies are said to be bullshit, but I find them serious. Maybe people are right. But I do what I want. Each wants it can change from time to time. The important thing is that I have inspiration, I just do it.
Sometimes there are things that we think we are strong, but are not necessarily strong if subjective; and vice versa, there are things that I find difficult, but if I am determined and really want to explore and experience, maybe I can do better than my forte. I really idolize Ly An (Taiwan’s famous film director – NV). I also like that each project is something new, exploring both the story, as well as discovering myself. I like to talk about identity, about characters who discover themselves.
What can be expected at Southern forest land the movie version, versus the TV version (1997)? Are you worried that with such a movie adaptation of a famous storybook that has been made into a TV series, there will be no curiosity factor to draw audiences to the theater? Not to mention the audience has already defaulted to familiar shapes, such as Hung Thuan’s baby An…?
Every project has its own pressure. With the film version of Southern Forest Land, in a more ideal filmmaking condition than the TV version as well as many of my previous projects, it is worth it to be under such pressure as you mentioned above. worth.
I want to make an epic movie about the people and land of the South. With a budget of about VND 40 billion, the film version clearly creates more optimal conditions for filmmakers and has slightly different perspectives than the TV version. But this is also the hardest case for me so far. The film is spread over many contexts, in 9 provinces, of which are mainly the southwestern provinces. To recreate the story that took place nearly 80 years ago, the film requires a very high feat in the stage of setting up scenes and applying special effects. Due to the fact that the scene has to be staged and there are scenes that must be performed in the correct sequence, the filming schedule cannot be adjusted according to the schedule of actors, including star actors such as Tran Thanh, Tien Luat. , Tuan Tran… The total number of actors, including mass actors, is up to several thousand people, with an average of 300-400 people per scene (such as floating markets, law courts…). The film has both child and elderly actors, but has to move through many contexts. There are also… animal actors (duck, chicken, bird, dog…). Filmmaking time must also be longer because there are scenes that can be solved by special effects, but there are also scenes that have to wait for the right season such as lotus season, rice season … to describe the West vividly and honestly. It can be said that the West is also a character in the movie.
Is the West now much different and lost a lot compared to the West you used to know and in your father’s writings?
At first, I found the West is not as beautiful as I know and always thought, every province is the same as any other province, walking a few hundred meters and seeing a bridge, something like that… But going deep, there are still many beautiful scenes. very, and it’s the same everywhere, it depends on the season. And it also has to go deep to understand that Western people are still extremely cute, it can be said beyond imagination, in the way they love people and in the way they express their innocent love for art. There are mass actors who work hard to row back and forth under the sun for a few days, but are still willing to put all their meager wages into renting an inn because they want to follow the film crew through all the provinces to watch… actor.
Filmmaking in the West has its own unique challenges that are fun. Like every other part of our country, the West now also has a problem… karaoke, and every time we need to shoot a quiet scene, the crew has to struggle to find the place where the singing is coming from because they don’t know where it comes from in the middle. that vast river. Usually, an outdoor shooting set only needs to be watched in the morning, but in the West, they still have to watch the water, such as scenes on the mudflats. And a typical problem is… mosquitoes, especially scenes that take place at dusk, around 4 – 7 am or 5 – 7 pm, mosquitoes keep calling him piercing clothes… However, 2 months of filming Being in the West was still a very enjoyable experience for the crew, and when they returned to Ho Chi Minh City for the final shoot, many of the crew fell ill, perhaps because they couldn’t stand the suffocating stuff of the city. city…
Director Nguyen Quang Dung rolls up his pants and chooses beautiful angles
The most different of Southern forest land What is the electric version compared to the TV version?
It will emphasize family factors as the most basic values of a person’s life regardless of background and experience, instead of focusing on geo-cultural factors of the Southern region such as: in the TV series.
Are you influenced by this year’s trend of “family movies”, from Vietnamese blockbusters? Madame Nu’s house to American blockbuster Avatar and the whole movie that just swept the Oscars 2023 season, Everything Everywhere All at Once?
I like family movies. In fact, most of my films have family elements. I think family is a close topic, the strength of Asian films. But now we also see Hollywood’s superhero movies always have a family element. Everything Everywhere All at Once, I really like the energy of that movie, the story telling about a family theme is very good and special…
So why do you… forever refuse to build a family?
Ah, it’s because I’m waiting for me… to grow up!
Regardless of the love is almost 3 years old? “If you still see… happy is still love”, as long as “the day is not stormy”?
This friend and I have been together for a long time, and together we went through two years of the pandemic. I respect this friend because she cherishes her family very much, likes the way she takes care of her family and that’s what I appreciate the most about her. I think I’ll protect that, the same way she protected her family…