Filmmakers want classification to replace censorship

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Censorship was the main topic of an online discussion titled “Ai Gop Y Gio Tay Len” (Raise Your Hand If You Want To Speak Out) this week among many in the film industry.

Nguyen Hoang Diep, director and member of the National Film Review Board since April, said the censorship process posed problems such as unclear regulations.

Speakers recalled how films such as “Cyclo” (directed by Tran Anh Hung) and “Bui Doi Cho Lon” (Charlie Nguyen) have been banned in the past.

‘Rom’ director Tran Dung Thanh Huy said the film had to be cut and edited a lot to meet the demands of the censors, affecting its plot and artistic goals.

Many films have been similarly mutilated to meet the demands of censors.

An excerpt from “Rom” by Tran Thanh Huy. Photo courtesy of the film

For example, violent scenes had to be removed from ‘Trai Tim Quai Vat’ (Monster Heart) when it was a horror movie.

Director Nguyen Hoang Diep said the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism should be more open to films like web series.

During a debate in the National Assembly on September 14 on amendments to the Cinema Law, Culture Minister Nguyen Van Hung suggested that the creators of web series censor themselves and assume their responsibilities, and authorities will oversee the end result.

Apparently referring to this, Diep lamented: “We are opening the door to (movies on) the Internet but we are locking up the film industry. Movies in theaters have a much smaller audience than on the Internet.”

Director Phan Dang Di said he would write to the National Assembly soon on behalf of the show’s panelists, drawing on practical experience and learning from other countries.

They wanted the law, which will be amended in October, to spell out what can and cannot go into a film and avoid any ambiguity so that its provisions cannot be applied subjectively.

They suggested changing the name of the censorship body to Cinema Ethics Council to include professional filmmakers, and to have branches in the south and north. They must register and publish their works, including discussions, member opinions, reasons to rate films and other actions, they said.

A still image of Cha Va Con Va ... (Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories ...), directed by Phan Dang Di.  Photo courtesy of the film

A photo from ‘Cha Va Con Va …’ (Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories …), directed by Phan Dang Di. Photo courtesy of the film

But the film authorities have their own opinions.

On September 27, the director of the Cinema Department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vi Kien Thanh, said the proposal to remove the screening bans was unreasonable and incorrect.

“I understand what filmmakers are wondering. However, in the 14 years since the Cinema Law was passed, hundreds of films have been produced and shown in theaters, the filmmakers are all relying on this to work. of law will concretize many points, without prohibiting them or causing them difficulties. “

The National Film Review Council brings together voices from many different backgrounds, from producers, directors to independent filmmakers. They all try to understand the producers and evaluate the films with an open mind, pursuing the goal of promoting the development of the Vietnamese film industry, Thanh said.

Previously, Trinh Thanh Nha, a screenwriter with five years of experience who sits on the board, said that sometimes members have to watch two movies a day. “Censors must watch and listen to every detail because any negligence could cause them to miss something vital.”

All films released in Vietnam – around 200 foreigners and 40 Vietnamese per year – are evaluated by this 11-member council, which is a huge workload.

The Cinema Law was passed in 2006 and amended once in 2009. Lawmakers will consider other amendments to the law and vote on them in a session starting in late October.


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