Tran Anh Hung

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Tran Anh Hung
Born Trần Anh Hùng
(1962-12-23) December 23, 1962 (age 51)
Đà Nẵng, Central Vietnam
Occupation Film Director, Screenwriter
Years active 1989 – present
Spouse(s) Trần Nữ Yên Khê
2 children

Trần Anh Hùng (born December 23, 1962) is a French film director of Vietnamese ancestry.

Early life[edit]

Trần was born in Đà Nẵng, Central Vietnam, and emigrated to France when he was 12 following the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

Film career[edit]

Trần has long been considered as having been in the forefront of the wave of acclaimed overseas Vietnamese cinema in the past two decades. His films have received international notoriety and acclaim, and until recently had all been varied meditations on life in Vietnam.

His Oscar-nominated debut (for Best foreign film) was with The Scent of Green Papaya (1993) which also won two top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, and his follow-up Cyclo (1995) featured top Hong Kong movie star Tony Leung Chiu Wai, also eventually winning a top prize at the Venice International Film Festival. The Vertical Ray of the Sun, released in 2000, was the third film in what many consider now to be his "Vietnam trilogy."

After a sabbatical, it was officially announced that Trần is back behind the helm with the noir psychological thriller I Come with the Rain (2009), which features a star-studded international cast including Josh Hartnett and Elias Koteas.

It was announced in July 2008 that Trần would direct an adaptation of Haruki Murakami's novel Norwegian Wood. The film was released in Japan in December 2010.[1]

Films on Vietnam[edit]

In France, Trần studied at the prestigious film school Louis Lumière College and made his graduation project in 1987 by directing a short film named Người thiếu phụ Nam Xương. The story was written by Trần himself, inspired from an old Vietnamese folk (Truyền kỳ mạn lục).

After Người thiếu phụ Nam Xương, Trần made another short film - Hòn vọng phu (1989), before launching the feature film The Scent of Green Papaya (1993). The Scent of Green Papaya received positive acclamations on style and beautiful shots on Vietnam's scenery. To date, the film is the only representative of Vietnamese cinema to be in the short-list nomination for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Scent of Green Papaya's success helps Trần gain enough fund for the next film Cyclo. The film tells stories about poor people living in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), filmed at Ho Chi Minh City under the permission of local government. Cyclo was not less successful than The Scent of Green Papaya since it brought to Trần the Golden Lion at 52nd Venice International Film Festival. At the age of 33, Trần was one of the youngest filmmakers to be honored in this film festival. The whole three films were so far financially sponsored by Christophe Rossignon (Lazenecs film company).

After having depicted Ho Chi Minh City, Trần described the life in Hanoi in The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000). The main characters of the film are three sisters who idolize their parents' family life before the truth is revealed after the mother's death.

Influences and style of film-making[edit]

Trần's films are made so as to rebuild the image of Vietnam that he has lost when immigrating into France and to provide audience with another point of view on Vietnam while this topic has been long dominated by French and American cinema. The stories are based on Trần's knowledge about Vietnamese language and culture and (in the second and third films) his first-hand experience gained from trips to the country.[2]

Trần is strongly influenced by French cinema and from some European and Japanese filmmakers, namely Bergman, Bresson, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky and Ozu.[citation needed]

Trần's style of filmmaking is expressed through the claim: "Art is the truth wearing mask" (interview originally in Vietnamese).[3] He denies the conventional story-telling style and pursues making films with a new language: "to challenges the audience's feeling, making them enjoy the films not with the critical reasoning but the body language".[3]

Personal life[edit]

Trần's wife, actress Trần Nữ Yên Khê, has starred in every single one of his films to date, with the exception of Norwegian Wood.

Filmography[edit]

Feature Film
Year English Title Original Title Notes
1993 The Scent of Green Papaya Mùi đu đủ xanh Won — Caméra d'Or1993 Cannes Film Festival
Won – Award of the Youth for Best French Film – 1993 Cannes Film Festival
Won – Sutherland Trophy – 1994 British Film Institute
Won – César Award for Best Debut1994 César Award
Nominated – Best Foreign Language FilmAcademy Award
1995 Cyclo Xích lô Won – Golden Lion1995 Venice Film Festival
Won – FIPRESCI Prize1995 Venice Film Festival
Won – Grand Prix – 1995 Flanders International Film Festival Ghent
2000 The Vertical Ray of the Sun Mùa hè chiều thẳng đứng Nominated – Prix Un Certain Regard2000 Cannes Film Festival
Contemporary World Cinema – 2000 Toronto International Film Festival
A Window on Asian Cinema – 5th Pusan International Film Festival [4]
2009 I Come with the Rain I Come with the Rain Contemporary World Cinema – 6th Fresh Film Fest
Nominated – The Siren (Best International Fantastic Film) [5] – 2009 Lund International Fantastic Film Festival [6]
Gala Presentation – 14th Pusan International Film Festival [7]
2010 Norwegian Wood ノルウェイの森 In Competition – 67th Venice International Film Festival
Short Film
Year English Title Original Title Notes
1989 La femme mariée de Nam Xuong La femme mariée de Nam Xuong Nominated – Short Film Palme d'Or1989 Cannes Film Festival
1991 La pierre de l'attente La pierre de l'attente

Quotations[edit]

"I adore American painting, German music, Japanese cinema and literature, Vietnamese contemporaries work and Italian cuisine."

"There are always three types of music in my work" [...] "American, which is something that touches me personally in my own life and which we cannot escape from; there's Vietnamese music and then there's the music composed for the film." (on the music of The Vertical Ray of the Sun)[8]

"That is Asiatic. The notion of the individual is very different than in the West. The individual doesn't exist alone. Even the way we are named is different... Tran is my first name because family comes first.".[9]

"I just think the movie should connect them to this idea of first love, and sometimes, first love can be very dangerous, and that was the case in this story. Also, if people can get out of the theater with the feeling of something beautiful, related to what is dark inside of us, but at the same time, really beautiful, then it is something that is important.".[10](on Norwegian Wood)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jason Gray (2008). Trần to adapt Norwegian Wood for Asmik Ace, Fuji TV, Screen Daily.com article retrieved August 1, 2008.
  2. ^ Tran Anh Hung as diasporic filmmaker, Tarr, Carrie (2005). In: Robson, Kathryn and Yee, Jennifer, (eds.) France and "Indochina": cultural representations. Marlyland, U.S. : Lexington Books. pp. 153-164. ISBN 0739108409
  3. ^ a b Nghệ thuật là sự thật được đeo mặt nạ - Art is the truth wearing mask, Lâm Phố (2004)
  4. ^ Official Selection List – A Window on Asian Cinema, PIFF Archive 5th (2000)
  5. ^ What happens at Lund International Fantastic Film Festival 2010?, Fantastisk Film Festival Lund 23 September – 2 Oktober 2010
  6. ^ International Competition 2009 , Fantastisk Film Festival Lund 23 September – 2 Oktober 2010
  7. ^ Official Selection List Gala Presentation, PIFF Archive 14th (2009)
  8. ^ An interview with Jason Wood
  9. ^ An interview with "The Movie Chicks", 2001
  10. ^ Interview: Tran Anh Hung and Rinko Kikuchi Take on Norwegian Wood

External links[edit]