Filmmakers refresh popular TV series with cinema versions

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HCM CITY — Amid a lack of quality movie scripts, the adaption of once-popular works is a vital solution for the country’s cinema sector.

The movie project Đất Rừng Phương Nam (Land and Forest of the South) based on TV series Đất Phương Nam (Land of the South) has been started by director Nguyễn Quang Dũng. So far, the project is in the casting stage and the premiere date has not been revealed.

Broadcast in 1997, the TV series Đất Phương Nam was adapted from the novel Đất Rừng Phương Nam by writer Đoàn Giỏi. The series was set in southern Việt Nam when it was ruled by the French colonialists and powerful local landlords.

A poster of the movie project ‘Đất Rừng Phương Nam’ (Land and Forest of the South) – a remake of the TV series ‘Đất Phương Nam’ (Land of the South) to be directed by Nguyễn Quang Dũng – has been released — Photo courtesy of the producers

Under the creative direction of celebrated director Nguyễn Vinh Sơn, the series received praise from viewers, becoming one of the most popular TV series of the time.

After 25 years since its TV debut, the series will be remade with a new script.

Director Dũng, who is in charge of the remake, said that he expects the movie will inherit the solid foundation of the original novel as well as the earlier TV series.

A son of the southern region, director Dũng wants to recreate part of his homeland’s glorious history on the silver screen so that the audience can learn more about the region, including its rich and diversified culture.

Director Sơn, who is the movie project’s consultant, said that when he worked on the TV version 25 years ago, due to the limited budget, the film crew couldn’t recreate all details of the original novel.

Recently, movie producer and distributor CGV Vietnam has unveiled on its Facebook page a poster of movie Người Đẹp Tây Đô: Chuyện Đời Chưa Kể (The Beauty of the West Capital Town: Untold Life Story), which, according to them, is a remake of the TV series Người Đẹp Tây Đô, whichpremiered in 1996. The movie producer so far hasn’t announced any further details about this movie project.

Earlier, the movie Bẫy Ngọt Ngào (The Sweet Trap) by director Đinh Hà Uyên Thư was adapted from the sitcom series Chiến Dịch Chống Ế (Campaign against Being on the Shelf). The movie will be presented to cinema-goers after a long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A scene from TV series ‘Thương Nhớ Ở Ai’ (Remember Who) which was adapted from the novel Bến Không Chồng (The Wharf of Women without Husbands). — Photo courtesy of the producers

In 2017, the international award-winning director Lưu Trọng Ninh created the 34-episode TV series Thương Nhớ Ở Ai (Remember Who) which was adapted from the novel Bến Không Chồng (The Wharf of Women without Husbands) by writer Dương Hướng.

Earlier, in 2000, the novel was also adapted to be a script for the movie of the same name, which was also directed by Ninh. Both the TV series and the movie have grabbed several major awards at domestic and international film festivals.

The remake of Đất Rừng Phương Nam has received mixed comments from fans. Some are eager to see how the cinema version will be different from the TV version, while many others said that the filmmakers should focus on producing new works, not on remakes.

Amid a lack of good scripts, remakes and adaptions of several Vietnamese movies from famous novels and dramas are one solution.

Director Dũng said: “Not only Việt Nam, other cinema industries in the world are also facing a lack of good scripts. In Hollywood, filmmakers have remade many movies from other countries. South Korean movie producers have bought the copyrights to remake good movies, creating a reputation for the new products.”

According to screenwriter Thanh Hương, it’s the fame of original works that create challenges for remakes.

“To be successful, the new version must contain special elements, from the story, the script, to the acting, otherwise it can fail,” she said.

“With good stories like Đất Phương Nam, the remake will offer a new experience to young viewers as well as those who were the fans of the TV series,” she added. — VNS

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