I am in Hanoi, on vacation going with wife and friends from North to South of Vietnam! Its like going to a place that you think you know a lot about and yet you know nothing. You have seen Vietnam on film, you were standing outside the American Embassy as a young person and suddenly you look at the lit de parade of Ho Chi Minh… or is it really him. The Vietnamese people we have met so far are smiling and hospitality is wonderful, as is the generosity… and the food and the winter weather, which is like spring and summer back in Copenhagen that we left last saturday.
We went to a morning visit at the Vietnamese film school, organised by my travelling companion Ole John, Danish filmmaker and teacher at the Danish Film School. After polite exchange of words with the professors and department heads of the school we had 90 minutes with the students. Ole talked about the Danish Dogme rules and I about documentaries.
For the latter they showed interest, stating however that the audience does not really have an interest in documentaries, yet… which was confirmed later on by the man who is head of directors training at the school. 15 documentaries are supported yearly by the government – for fiction it is the same amount, 5 of them supported by private funding.
Censorship? Well, there is a committee that looks at the proposals for films and at the finished films – and 3 points are not allowed: antigovernmental criticism. sex. violence. Buts there are other films than the governmental ones and things are moving.
The students watch documentaries on tv and on the internet. They know how to get to the sites, its normal for them in a country with internet cafes all over.
Biggest problem: language… the English skills are very bad. Out of 15 students in the room, 3-4 understood most of what we said, the rest were depending on the interpreter.