At this year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), Hallyu World’s host, Hyesoo, met with the producer and cast of Co Ba Saigon (The Tailor) – the hottest Vietnamese movie debuted at the festival.
Being compared to the Vietnamese version of the Devil Wears Prada, the movie is a romantic comedy about Vietnamese women in 1960s, featuring the vibrant fashion culture and lifestyle of Saigonese. The history of Ao Dai also plays an important part in the movie. This is indeed a rare movie from the modern Vietnamese filmmakers with an ambition to revive the traditional culture with such national symbolic feature.
In “The Tailor,” the vibrant fashion world of Saigon meets the Ao Dai, the traditional Vietnamese dress, in a movie that crisscrosses 48 years from 1969 to 2017. Arrogant Nhu Y is the daughter of a famous Ao Dai designer in Saigon but is also only interested in western outfits, so she ignores the traditional dress. One day, she accidentally shifts in time to the future, becoming someone very different. Meanwhile, her mother’s tailor has become the best designer in Vietnam. The film shows the process of Nhu Y’s transformation, from opening her eyes to the beauty of the Ao Dai in the future, to rebuilding the ruined family business.
Co Ba Saigon (The Tailor) is co-directed by Ngo Thanh Van – Veronica Ngo, the multi-talented producer who has also acted in some Hollywood blockbusters, including Bright which also features Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Edgar Ramirez; and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny together with Michelle Yeoh, Donnie Yen and Jason Scott Lee. Van also plays a Resistance gunner in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, scheduled to premiere soon.
During the interview, this Vietnamese movie star and producer revealed her ambition to bring back traditional culture through this movie.
“I really hope that with this movie we will send our message about this national dress we are very proud of to all the World and also to the younger generation of Vietnamese girls.”
“We are now trying our best to get them back to understand more about Ao Dai, how it is tailored and how proud we are of the dress…Because Ao Dai is so beautiful and we need to do something to show the young generation the roots of us”
“In the movie, Thanh Mai, the owner of the tailor shop, tells her daughter Nhu Y that ‘Ao Dai is the source of our family business’. And the Ao Dai is the source of Vietnamese culture and the source of this movie,” she said at the movie premiere.
In addition, the movie also features several leading women of Vietnamese cinema and the representatives of Vietnamese cinema’s young generation, Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc, Diem My and Oanh Kieu
During the interview with Hallyu World, the main actress Ninh Duong Lan Ngoc – who is a young rising star in the Vietnamese film industry – revealed that after going through the journey with Ao Dai in the movie, “I personally started to appreciate the Ao Dai more”.
The beautiful and talented cast of Co Ba Saigon (The Tailor) also shared their perspectives on the definition of women’s beauty in the modern World.
For Diem My, “It’s the combination of their own personality and also traditions. As in this movie, we catch up with the modern style but we never forget and we always respect Ao Dai as well as our traditional culture and the bond among family members”
And for Ngo Thanh Van, it’s all about the confidence and “understanding myself in whatever order I wear, or whatever I think or the job I am doing, confidence comes first and then come to the beauty.
After the festival, they hope there will be more chances to promote Vietnamese movies to the World.