A scene from the film Da co Hoai Lang (Photo courtesy of ​Thien Ngan (Galaxy) Studio)

HCM City (VNA) - The film Da Co Hoai Lang (Night Drumbeats Cause Longing for Absent Husband), a production about traditional Vietnamese culture by director Nguyen Quang Dung, will be released in cinemas this month.

The film is adapted from the drama of the same name by theatre director and playwright Thanh Hoang of HCM City.   

Since it debut in 1994 by the 5B Small Theatre, one of the city’s leading drama troupes, the play has been staged more than 1,000 times in HCM City and Hanoi.

The play features the country’s traditional culture and the spirit of different generations.

In 1995, it received the Golden Medal at the National Theatre Festival in Hanoi.  

Hoang and the film’s director Dung Hoàng worked together on filming.

Da Co Hoai Lang tells a story of Tu, an elderly artisan, and his closest friend, who move from their native village in a province in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta to live with their children in the US.

They are nostalgic after years living away from Vietnam. They often sing and dance cải lương (reformed opera), the south’s traditional music, together.  

“Our film is targeted to young audiences at home and abroad. Through our work, we hope that youth learn more about Vietnamese culture and lifestyle through theatre,” said director Dung, a graduate of the HCM City University of Theatre & Cinematography.  

Dung invited Vietnamese-American theatre actors Hoai Linh and Chi Tai to play the leading roles.

“Although Linh and Tai are talented and professional artists, they both worked hard on refining their singing and acting skills to successfully portray the spirit of the Vietnamese,” he said.

The film also features young actors Trong Khang, Thanh My and Hoang Quan.

The film was shot in many locations in Vietnam and the US.

Da Co Hoai Lang was named after the famous vong co (Nostalgic Tunes) song written in 1919 by well-known musician Cao Van Lau of Bac Lieu Province, who is recognised as a guru of cải lương theatre.

The song tells of the love, anguish and pride of a young woman watching her husband leave to fight for the country.

Vọng co songs are sung by southern farmers after working in the fields. The songs feature the feeling, dreams and hopes of people. They are often used in cai lương.

In Dung’s production, actors spent days to learn singing Da Co Hoai Lang with skilled artists from Tran Huu Trang Theatre, the region’s leading cải lương troupe.

"Although I really like comedies and pop music, we enjoy getting a taste of what serious film Da Co Hoai Lang is like," said Tran Tu Quynh, a first-year student at HCM City University of Law.

Produced by the Thien Ngan (Galaxy) Studio, the film will be in cinemas on March 24.  — VNA