Tran Anh Hung

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In this Vietnamese name, the family name is Trần, but is often simplified to Tran in English-language text. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Hùng.
Tran Anh Hung
Tran Anh Hung "International Competition Jury" at Opening Ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival (22453104525).jpg
Born Trần Anh Hùng
(1962-12-23) December 23, 1962 (age 53)
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 Vietnamese-born French film director.

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 is considered to be at the forefront of a wave of acclaimed overseas Vietnamese cinema in the past two decades. His films have received international notoriety and acclaim, and until recently they 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) which featured top Hong Kong movie star Tony Leung Chiu Wai, also eventually won 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 his "Vietnam trilogy."

After a sabbatical, Trần was again back behind the helm with the noir psychological thriller I Come with the Rain (2009), which featured 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]


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 – Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
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


  1. ^ Jason Gray (2008). Trần to adapt Norwegian Wood for Asmik Ace, Fuji TV, Screen 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)

External links[edit]