SUNDAY, MAY 2 | INTERNATIONAL CENTERPIECE | 7:00 PM | DGA 1
DATE: SUNDAY, MAY 2
TIME: 7:00 PM
VENUE: DGA 1
CLASH (Bay Rong)
(Vietnam, 2009) Dir.: Le Thanh Son; Scr.: Johnny Tri Nguyen, L.E. Thanh Son
35mm, 90 min., color, narrative, in Vietnamese w/ E.S.
Globalization has made Vietnam the next Tiger in the Asian economy. According to the PriceWaterHouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment Report for 2009-2013, Vietnam is the last entertainment market to exploit, with an emerging creative content industry and a national population of 87 million, with half under the age of 30. That’s a massive consumer base. Therefore, many Vietnamese American filmmakers have returned to a changed Motherland, free of the vestiges of its war-torn and political past. Incredible opportunities are abound. The milestone in new Vietnamese filmed entertainment was reached when Charlie Nguyen’s period martial arts masterpiece THE REBEL closed the 2007 Film Festival and walked off with the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature. THE REBEL provided a breakthrough in the re-imagining of Vietnam as an Asian cinema force. It also encouraged an influx of new Vietnamese filmmakers whose filmmaking activity between Vietnam and the U.S. have resulted in critically acclaimed and popularly viable works including Ham Tran’s JOURNEY FROM THE FALL (2005) and Stephane Gauger’s THE OWL AND THE SPARROW (2007). The new actioner CLASH, starring Johhny Tri Nguyen and Veronica Ngo (the stars of THE REBEL) and directed by Le Thanh Son (who served as an assistant director on THE REBEL) is a reunion of sorts, but also another reinvention of the Vietnamese action film.
Ex-convicts Quan (Johnny Tri Nguyen) and Cang (Johnny Depp look-alike Lam Minh Thang) are part of a hit squad assembled by Trinh (Veronica Ngo) to steal a hard drive from French mobsters. Trinh works for an elusive criminal mastermind who seeks the hard drive to get control of VINASAT.1, Vietnam’s first and only satellite. As the crew proceeds to execute the theft, a lone counter-operative from within the crew runs off with the hard drive. Quan reluctantly helps Trinh hunt down the traitor, but nothing is as it seems in this duplicitous world of crime and secret agendas. CLASH was released in Vietnam during the Christmas season, opposite a little film called AVATAR. James Cameron’s film went on to break box-office records in Vietnam and the rest of the world, but CLASH proved a sturdy box-office standout and eventually stayed in theaters through Tet, or the lucrative Lunar New Year, generating its own record box office grosses. Director Le’s film represents a milestone in Vietnamese filmed entertainment, cross-pollinating the trends of the West with the sensibilities of the Vietnamese. The Festival is honored to present CLASH as its International Centerpiece Gala.
- Anderson Le