The Vietnamese movie that everyone is talking about this summer is Tấm Cám: Chuyện Chưa Kể (aka Tấm Cám: The Untold Story). It has been billed as one of Vietnam's most ambitious movie projects yet. Tấm Cám -- a movie by first-time director and producer Ngô Thanh Vân -- dares to take a big-budget approach to film making that is often seen only in Hollywood blockbuster films and large-scale Chinese action movies. For a Vietnamese film, Tấm Cám is a major gamble. Big Hollywood companies can afford to lose money on a couple of flops at the box office; Vietnamese companies can't.
Vietnamese film makers usually stick to more budget friendly genres like comedies for example. Last year, the rom-com Em Là Bà Nội Của Anh broke Vietnamese box office records. But unlike Em Là Bà Nội Của Anh -- a remake of a South Korean film, backed and funded by a South Korean movie company -- Tấm Cám is a film that is a product by Vietnam for the people of Vietnam. It tells the story of a popular Vietnamese fairy tale that is seen as the Vietnamese version of "Cinderella."
Strangely enough, Tấm Cám has had a very controversial film debut with Ngô Thanh Vân publicly crying over the decision of CGV Cinemas to pull the film from their theaters due to a disagreement in profit sharing. It was reported that NTV wanted a 50/50 split when CGV decided to axe Tấm Cám from their theaters. Imagine if you couldn't go see a movie in half of the movie theaters in America, and you had to go to all the older, smaller theaters. That would be some f*cked up shit, right? These large conglomerates probably got all these tax breaks to build their infrastructure in Vietnam. Now, they are trying to run a monopoly on this shit? I've read enough about shady S. Korean business dealings to know that you can't trust Korean businessmen.
Even with all the bad publicity and drama leading up to its release, I hear Tấm Cám is still doing quite well at the box office. Gotta support your people, or else....all these foreign entities are going to invade the homeland. Seriously, there are so many foreign businesses in Vietnam now -- Circle K, Starbucks, Lotte, CGV, etc. -- that it's nice to see homegrown Vietnamese talent succeeding and not giving in to outside pressure.