Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Thursday, 22nd September 2016

Vietnamese film Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass eyes Oscars success

Films are a fantastic way to gain an insight into the culture of a country before visiting it. With this in mind, those planning trips to Vietnam may wish to watch Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass prior to departure. This coming of age film has been submitted into the Oscars under the Best Foreign Language Film category.

The wistful childhood tale did exceptionally well on home turf and has therefore been selected as Vietnam’s entry into the prestigious international awards. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism hopes that it will appeal just as strongly to the rest of the world.

When Toi Thay Hoa Vang Tren Co Xanh, as it’s known in its native Vietnamese, was released, it attracted some 350,000 viewers. That equated to more than US$3.5 million (£2.7 million) at the box office, making it a runaway smash hit.

Yellow Flowers is based on a book of the same name by Nguyen Nhat Anh, which became a bestseller when it was first published. This gave the film a good chance of success and with American-Vietnamese director Victor Vu coming on board, it fulfilled its potential.

Prior to its release, no state-commissioned film had ever been high grossing in cinemas. Yellow Flowers therefore made headlines, as well as capturing hearts back in 2015. It was first premiered at Cannes, giving it more credentials internationally.

Yellow Flowers transports viewers back to the 1980s and the period after the American War. It is set in a poor rural commune and chronicles the lives of three children as they grow up in this very specific time in Vietnam’s history.

The whole film is portrayed through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy and follows two brothers who are best friends, but also ultimately, rivals. Things start to get tense as they both vie for the attentions of the same girl.

Michael J Werner, chairman of Fortissimo, which has bought the rights to the film, said: “There is a whole new wave of cinema emanating from Vietnam that captures the energy, dynamism, introspective story-telling, and cinematic/technical sophistication of that society which is in transition. Victor encapsulates all of those trends and with this project.”

Vu is considered among the best of Vietnam’s filmmakers and has made ten other movies. These include Scandal, Vengeful Heart and Battle of the Brides, which has won critical acclaim inside his country.

The 89th annual Academy Awards will be presented on September 26th 2017 and fans of Yellow Flowers will have to wait until then to see if it is successful. It is only the sixth Vietnamese film ever to be submitted into the foreign language category at the Oscars.

Related news stories:
Eat your way through Luang Prabang?s night market (26th May 2016)
Why has Laotian food not been widely exported to the rest of the world? (2nd April 2015)
A checklist of delicious fruits to try in South East Asia (24th February 2015)
How to live like a local in Laos (28th January 2016)