JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Gloomy outlook for Vietnamese cinema, literature scene: workshop

Gloomy outlook for Vietnamese cinema, literature scene: workshop

Friday, December 21, 2018, 11:44 GMT+7
Gloomy outlook for Vietnamese cinema, literature scene: workshop
Books on sale in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Attendees at a national workshop held in Hanoi on Wednesday to discuss the multitude of issues plaguing the Vietnamese film and literature industries were not shy about voicing disdain for the current state of literary and cinematic art in Vietnam. 

Nearly two decades after the Vietnamese government launched a program aimed at exposing a larger segment of the population to art and literature, industry stakeholders claim that little headway has been made in reigniting a love for homegrown art amongst the masses.

The program, which focused mainly on the construction of performance halls and lobbying the government to relax its grip on several branches of the creative arts, is now viewed by many as a failure.

Nearly all of the state-founded cinemas in Hanoi have been converted into showrooms or coffee shops, Pham Quang Long – former director of the Hanoi culture and tourism department – said at the event, addressing the dozens of researchers, officials, journalists, and artists from across the country in attendance.

Citing his own survey, Long claimed that families in Hanoi are going years without going to the cinema, and some parents have cut the amount of storybooks they are buying for their children down to just one or two annually.

Long also noted that despite the emergence of private film producers, the expansion of privately-owned cinemas, and increasing box office ticket revenues, Vietnamese cinema is in a current state of decline.

Film director Dang Nhat Minh described the domination of privately-owned cinemas and movie companies led by mercenary attitudes as an "exceedingly chaotic landscape."

In what he called a "miscellaneous cinema industry," the government’s role had been reduced to granting film licenses and holding film festivals.

Meanwhile, cinemas are simply making a rush toward profits, showing predominantly foreign movies that might potentially be contributing to the erosion of Vietnamese social ethics.

Many journalists and performance artists at the workshop seemed to echo this view that domestic cinema is struggling to stay afloat.

Poor-quality literature

Poet Huu Thinh, chairman of the Vietnam Writers’ Association, said the amount of poor-quality literature being published in Vietnam is “truly alarming.”

“The country now has over a thousand poetry clubs, but are they producing any good, enduring poems? It’s incredibly rare,” Thinh said.

“I’m always ready to read the poems from these clubs, but I have to say they aren’t producing anything good.”

A number of publishers are pandering to the need for entertainment and printing literature with ‘rubbish’ content.

Meanwhile books with actual value are taking a back seat, said Nguyen Anh Vu, director of the Literature Publishing House.

Le Doan Hop, a former head of Vietnam’s culture and information ministry, said he believes that more than 70 percent of the three metric tons of books he was given during his time in office were "useless."

He added that he was afraid of receiving poems from friends since the chances of him actually appreciating them are low.

While the speakers argued over the direction Vietnam’s arts industry needs to take, the general purpose of the workshop was to spark positive social change.

One of the major attendees, deputy premier Vu Duc Dam, expressed his hope that the event serves a wake-up call for those wanting to revive the industry.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News


Read more




‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Latest news