Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has five features, two short films and three projects entered the 24th Busan International Festival (BIFF) of the Republic of Korea, which will be held in October.

This is the first time that Vietnam has so many films selected for the festival, one of the biggest in Asia. Four of them have yet to premiere.

Notably, this year also sees an unprecedented number of young Vietnamese directors and producers vying for BIFF awards.

“Unknown” factors

Five Vietnamese features will compete in the festival’s most important categories.

“Rom,” by 29-year-old director Tran Thanh Huy, will be screened on October 4 in the New Currents category, which awards two best first or second-time feature films from up-and-coming Asian filmmakers.

Vietnamese films’ presence in Busan fest: Imprints of young directors hinh anh 1"Rom," a film by 29-year-old director Tran Thanh Huy. (Photo courtesy of the film crew)

Other fours – “Thua Me Con Di” (Goodbye Mother), “Anh Trai Yeu Quai” (Dear Evil Brother), “Bac Kim Thang” (Home Sweet Home) and “Bi Mat Cua Gio” (Secrets of the Wind) – were selected for competition in the A Window on Asian Cinema category which honours the latest and most talked about films by directors in Asia.

Among the five films, only “Thua Me Con Di” has premiered in Vietnam while the remainders remain unknown factors.

Two Vietnamese short films to be screened at this fest are “Ngot, Man" (Sweet, Salty) by Duong Dieu Linh competing in the Asian Short Film category and "Hay Thuc Tinh va San Sang" (Be Awake and Ready) of Pham Thien An in the Short Films Introduction category.

"Rom" was developed from the critically acclaimed short film "4:30 pm.", which was directed by Tran Thanh Huy and screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

It is about a teenage boy named Rom who lives in a slum in Ho Chi Minh City and sells lottery tickets for people in the neighborhood. His aim is to collect enough money to find his parents, who had abandoned him as a child.

The short film was also the young director’s graduation project in university, and it took him seven years to produce the full-length version. His message to the audience is “Just keep believing, inside every human being is kindness!”

“Bi Mat Cua Gio,” directed by Nguyen Phan Quang Binh, is a romantic thriller which tells the story of Linh, an art student who meets a ghost when she moves to her new house. Linh then goes on a quest to solve the mysterious death of the person who became the ghost, and realizes the real values in life.

Vietnamese films’ presence in Busan fest: Imprints of young directors hinh anh 2A scene in“Bi Mat Cua Gio" directed by Nguyen Phan Quang Binh (Photo: BHD)

It is expected to bring to the big screen the poetic and mysterious beauty of Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

“Bac Kim Thang,” a horror film by director Tran Huu Tan, is about a young man who believes his house is being haunted after spending six months in a hospital. He sees his cousin, who committed suicide, and dummies in the house while listening to Bac Kim Thang, a Vietnamese folk song.

The film features Meritorious Artist Phi Dieu and veteran actor Trung Dan as well as young artists Minh Hy and Trinh Tai. 

Vietnamese films’ presence in Busan fest: Imprints of young directors hinh anh 3“Bac Kim Thang,” a horror film by director Tran Huu Tan. (Photo courtesy of the film crew)

Imprints of young Vietnamese directors

The movies present at the Busan fest reflect efforts of young directors to blow a breath of fresh air into old motifs. “Thua Me Con Di,” the debut film by 33-year-old director Trinh Dinh Le Minh, is viewed as a standout among independent films this year.

It is an indie film starting with the love story between two men, Ian and Van. But it’s more than a story about the empathy and equality for the LGBT community in Vietnam.

The romantic drama tells the story of two gay men and the discrimination they face from the community. They struggle to come out as they are torn between love and family pressure to get married and have children.

Van coming out with his mother becomes the biggest turning point in his life.
“Going from an idea which is normally viewed as tough to make a good movie to being selected for screening at the BIFF is a long and challenging journey of “Thua Me Con Di,” said screenwriter Nhi Bui.

It proves that the audience are still passionate about storylines familiar to them that can touch their innermost thoughts and feelings, she said.

Three projects – “Skin of youth” by Nguyen Phuong Anh, “Picturehouse” by Nguyen Vo Nghiem Minh and “Cuoc San Tan Nhan” by Nguyen Huu Tuan – were selected to take part in the Asian Project Market (APM) which will enable them to learn from others’ experience and seek opportunity for film-making partnership.

The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), one of the biggest film festivals in Asia, will take place from October 3-10 this year. 

The festival will screen about 300 films from 85 countries, with 97 features and 23 short films making their world premiere./.