Hanoi, Saigon audiences line up to watch war film

By Loc Chung, Phuong Linh   February 23, 2024 | 06:32 am PT
Hanoi, Saigon audiences line up to watch war film
Audiences queue up at cinemas to watch the war film "Dao, Pho Va Piano" (Peach Blossoms, Pho and Piano). Photo by Phuong Linh
Audiences in Hanoi and HCMC have eagerly queued up at cinemas to watch the war film "Dao, Pho Va Piano" (Peach Blossoms, Pho and Piano).

According to Nguyen Khanh Duong, founder of Box Office Vietnam, its screenings in the past week have consistently been 99% full.

On Thursday hundreds gathered at HCMC’s Beta Tran Quang Khai cinema, which does not sell tickets online and requires people to buy in-person, causing some to arrive hours early.

Word of mouth after viewers were captivated by its impact lifted the film’s popularity.

At the Hanoi National Cinema Center, lines formed well into Wednesday evening, and many disappointed fans had to settle for tickets on other days after all shows sold out.

Young people in particular have shown great interest in Phi Tien Son's film, with many turning up at the cinema after unsuccessful online attempts to buy tickets.

Some had queued up the previous day too in vain and returned in hope.

"Dao, Pho Va Piano," which opened on Lunar New Year (Feb. 10), initially had a limited screening.

But the buzz on social media from Feb. 18 onwards made it a hit, prompting the National Cinema Center to increase it to 18 shows a day and in its largest auditoriums.

Vu Duc Tung, the acting director of the center, described the audiences' enthusiasm as unprecedented, leading to a proposal for nationwide screenings by Vi Kien Thanh, director general of Vietnam Cinema Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

The film, produced by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, cost VND20 billion (US$815,080) to make.

It narrates the story of a young couple's attempt to reunite on Feb. 17, 1947, amid the 60-day Battle of Hanoi that marked the beginning of the First Indochina War.

While "Dao, Pho Va Piano" has been praised for its grand settings and detailed wartime re-creation, it has faced criticism for some cinematic techniques and the dramatic delivery of dialogues.

The nonlinear storyline has also made it hard for some viewers to understand. Despite these criticisms, the film grossed over VND1 billion in just 11 days.

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