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Vietnamese film by American director wins nation’s most prestigious award

By Mai Nhat   September 14, 2022 | 06:03 am PT
“Dem Toi Ruc Ro” (The Brilliant Darkness), a movie on domestic violence by American director Aaron Toronto has won the "Canh Dieu Vang" (Golden Kite Award).

On Tuesday, the movie beat several contenders including "Maika - Co Be Den Tu Hanh Tinh Khac" (Maika - The Girl From Another Galaxy), "Bay Ngot Ngao" (Sweet Trap) and "Binh Minh Do" (Red Dawn) to win the most important prize in one the two biggest and most prestigious film awards in Vietnam.

At the award ceremony, Toronto said he was surprised because he thought his film "too modest" compared to other nominations in the same category.

He thanked the National Fund For Vietnamese Children for supporting the movie’s production, helping spread the message of the need to protect young children from domestic violence.

Nha Uyen, the director's wife, main actress and screenwriter, said she and her crew had wanted to give up many times because of the stress involved.

However, they persisted in order to demonstrate the plight of children who are not safe in their own home.

Uyen won the Best Actress Award for the role of Xuan Thanh, a woman living with depression, as well as the Best Screenwriter Award.

The film also won prizes in Cinematography and Supporting Actor categories.

Director Aaron Toronto and his wife (right) - actress Nha Uyen, received the Golden Kite Award for the movie The Brilliant Night. Photo by VnExpress/Toan Bui

Director Aaron Toronto and his wife (right) - actress Nha Uyen, who received the Golden Kite Award for the movie "Dem Toi Ruc Ro". Photo by VnExpress/Toan Bui

The film depicts the funeral of an old man, who is the grandfather of Kim Hoang (played by Vu Xuan Trang), Xuan Thanh (Nha Uyen) and Kim Bao (Kim B).

The three return home for their grandfather's funeral after many years of separation. Each person has a different situation - one is depressed, the other is divorced from a rich husband and the third addicted to drugs.

In the middle of the funeral, Toan (played by Kien An), the father of the three women, confesses that he owes a lot of money and needs to pay it off before 6 a.m. the next morning, failing which he will be killed by gangsters.

The children refuse to pay his debt because each has her own problem. That evening becomes "a time bomb" for Toan's family.

Director Aaron Toronto has lived in Vietnam for 16 years. Before making the movie, he studied funeral customs in southern Vietnam for many years. His wife, actress Nha Uyen, was eight months pregnant when she acted in the movie.

In early March, the movie won two awards for Best Story and Best Performance: female for Nha Uyen at Santa Fe - an independent film festival in the U.S.

The film was a box office success in Vietnam this year with ticketbox phenomenons revenues of more than VND20 billion ($847,456).

This year’s award ceremony attracted more than 300 guests. It had 147 entries, in many categories including feature films, documentaries, dramas, scientific films, short films and others.

Canh Dieu Vang Award is an annual award instituted by the Vietnam Film Association in 2003.

"Dem Toi Ruc Ro" trailer. Video: CJ

 
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