Vietnamese Language Blog

Vietnamese Films Posted by on Feb 22, 2022 in Art, Culture, Literature

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Have you ever watched a Vietnamese phim (film, movie)? By that I mean a phim that is made in Vietnam and has English subtitles. To be honest, I wasn’t interested much in Vietnamese phim. The acting was known to be too stiff, the content was not interesting, and the overall production quality was not that advanced. Who would want to watch phim that was made under the Government’s directives, or only to meet the Government’s propaganda purposes? Well, those were the issues in the past.

With the booming economy and new, privately-owned sectors, more money has been invested in the entertainment industry, including the film industry. As a result, quite a number of high budget and quality films have been recently made in Vietnam. Film genres and topics have also expanded, including drama and comedy, thrillers, action, romance, and television series. Vietnam’s film industry is definitely flourishing and catching up with the west and other Asian countries, namely Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan.

Back in the 80s and 90s, phim bộ (television series) from Hồng Kông (Hongkong) and Đài Loan (Taiwan), dubbed in Vietnamese, were extremely popular among the Vietnamese who live in the south and overseas. Almost any phim bộ about fantasy-martial arts based on the books written by Chinese writer Kim Dung (查良鏞Pinyin: Cha Leung Yung) such as “Thần Điêu Đại Hiệp” (The Legend of the Condor Heroes), or “Ỷ Thiên Đồ Long Kiếm” (The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber) were popular and cultural mainstays. You bet, I watched them all, and loved them!

Today, popular phim bộ that are watched by the Vietnamese, besides phim bộ from Vietnam, are mostly from Korea, China, and India. I learned that Chinese historical drama TV series are actually shown every day in Vietnam television programming. As for Vietnamese phim bộ¸ “Bố Già” (Godfather) and “Bến Không Chồng” (No-Husband Dock) are among some good ones that I have watched.

I was quite impressed with some recent Vietnamese movies with English Subtitles that I found on Netflix including “Dreamy Eyes” (“Mắt Biếc” in Vietnamese) and “The Camelia Sisters” (“Gái Già Lắm Chiêu” in Vietnamese). “Dreamy Eyes” is a romantic drama based on the book of the same name written by popular writer Nguyễn Nhật Ánh. The cinematography in that movie is beautiful. Watch the trailer below.

“The Camelia Sisters” is a comedy of manners. Some parts made me laugh and some parts made me cry. Unlike some Vietnamese films that are dark and slow, this one is very colorful and bright. Like watching a fashion show, the sisters in that movie change clothes in every scene and their clothes are beautiful. If you are learning Vietnamese and would like to hear the typical Vietnamese accents from the North, Central, and South, watch this phim. Interestingly, the three sisters all spoke in distinctive accents. The oldest spoke Hà Nội accent, the second spoke Huế accent, and the youngest spoke Sài Gòn accent. Watch the trailer below. You may love it.


If you have a chance to watch some of the movies I mentioned, leave your review in the comments, or share your experience about other Vietnamese movies that you have watched and like.

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