A scene in Song Lang (The Tap Box), a film on the 100-year history and development of cai luong (reformed opera), a genre of traditional theatre in the South (Photo courtesy of VAA)

HCM City (VNA) - Movie star and producer Ngo Thanh Van’s latest film, Song Lang (The Tap Box), will compete in the Tokyo International Film Festival 2018 (TIFF).

The film was selected to be screened at the Opening International Premiere in the Asian Future Category.

Song Lang highlights the 100-year history and development of “cai luong” (reformed opera), a traditional theatre genre in the South. 

It features a group of “cai luong” artists in HCM City in the 1980s, focusing on the challenges they face to preserve their art. 

It also centres on the career of a young performer, Linh Phung, who makes sacrifices to pursue his dream.  

Van invited Vietnamese-American Leon Le to direct her film. Le researched many documents and books on “cai luong” before filming.  

The film stars pop singer and actor Issac, winner of the Rising Star of Asia’s Star Awards at the 21st Busan International Festival in 2016, and young actors Tu Quyen and Lien Binh Phat.  

These artists spent several days to practice singing and dancing “cai luong” with experts. 

Song Lang hit cinemas in August. “I wanted to capture the beauty of Vietnamese culture and lifestyle in films,” said producer Van, who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry.

Her new project, Than Dong Dat Viet (Vietnamese Prodigies), based on Vietnamese folk stories, will begin filming late this year.

Last year, Van’s Co Ba Sai Gon (The Tailor), a romantic comedy on Vietnamese women in Sai Gon (now HCM City) in the 1960s, was screened and honoured at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival in Busan, the Republic of Korea.

The film’s leading character, young actress Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc of HCM City, was named Face of Asia at the Asia Star Awards 2017.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Department of Cinematography recently decided to send Co Ba Sai Gon to the US’s 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

The 10-day event TIFF will begin in Tokyo on October 25. It has attracted 1,829 films come from 109 countries and territories.  

Song Lang will compete with eight films from China, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan for top prizes for the Best Asian Future Film Award and The Spirit of Asia Award, presented by the Japan Foundation Asia Centre.-VNA