When her second film Memoryland held its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents competition last month, Vietnamese director Bui Kyên ổn Quy had to lớn give it a miss due lớn her health conditions.

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“I was diagnosed with lung cancer after the shoot wrapped in late 2018. Since then I have been undergoing treatment (which also explains why we had a drawn-out post-production). This pre-existing medical condition prevented me from getting the vaccines. I live sầu in Hanoi and can’t even travel by plane or by car lớn other places in Vietnam giới, let alone traveling abroad,” says Quy.

While she is now nursing herself baông xã to health, at one point she was even making arrangements for her own death, including getting a traditional in-ground burial plot for herself & one for her mother – not unlike the elderly couple in Memoryland who hire a funeral planner to lớn make sure their burials will be handled in the traditional way after their death.

Filming “Memoryland” in northern Vietnam.

“The Korean audiences raised many interesting questions. Many of them noticed the similarities between Vietnamese & South Korean funerary customs. The elderly audiences felt that a part of their lives was reflected upon in the film,” says Mai.

Quy has enjoyed a strong relationship with the South Korean film festival. Memoryl& is supported by Busan’s Asian Cinema Fund for script development, while her feature debut The Inseminator received the same fund for post-production & had its premiere at the festival’s A Window on Asian Cinema section in năm trước.

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Mai produced both films alongside Dang Xuan Truong, Quy’s husb&, who also served as cinematographer and production designer. Truong won the best cinematography award at the ASEAN International Film Festival in năm ngoái for The Inseminator.

After Busan, The Inseminator went on to lớn play in Rotterdam, Gothenburg, Taipei, & Munich, & most recently in Locarno this year. But the film, about a dying old man who takes extreme measures lớn find a bride for his son to lớn continue the family lineage, was banned in Vietphái nam.

“My film has violated the Cinema Law, which forbids any incestuous behavior onscreen,” Quy says. “I could have got away with it if I changed the daughter’s character: to lớn make her an adopted daughter of the old man, rather than his biological daughter. But that’s not my vision & what’s depicted in the film did happen in real life. By keeping to lớn my story, I’ve sầu fulfilled my duty as a filmmaker, just lượt thích the censorship regulators have sầu fulfilled theirs by banning the film.”

Going forward, Quy hopes that the new Cinema Law will allow films to be rated for different audiences, making it possible for films like The Inseminator to lớn be screened in film festivals & for academic purposes.

It came as a big relief khổng lồ Quy và her team that Memoryland has passed the local censors, with an NC-16 rating. It has just screened at the Vietphái nam Film Festival, which ran from November 10-16. However, Quy says that it is very hard for low-budget, independent films to get a theatrical release, as the distribution system is mostly for commercial films.

As her health is improving, Quy has a couple of new projects in development, one of which is mix in the same village as Memoryland. She is also producing an experimental project for seven of her students at the Hanoi Academy of Theater and Cinema. She has full confidence in the future of contemporary Vietnamese cinema.

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