News & events > The Colours of Cultures
01 Oct 2004

The Colours of Cultures

“Beware of the latest regulation regarding to the visa “Type D”. If you hold such a “D” visa, you will not be allowed to travel in Vietnam during the period 1–15 October”. This message was sent to the expat community in Hanoi early September.

More strict controls to ensure the highest level of security are also to be expected during that period as it was repeated by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Dung. Hopefully, you will be in order with your visa. If it is the case, you may still have a chance to take part in one of the richest cultural programme ever organised between the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information, and the European Union in the capital. The event is a festival organised in the framework of the coming ASEM 5 Summit. It will run through 20 October.The ASEM festival is covering a wide range of art forms. Dance, with a choice of programmes that go from Lauren Francis and Beate von Hahn Opera performance to unique outdoor pop, rock, and hip-hop music concerts. Faze Action from the UK, Fution from Thailand, Dong Doi from Vietnam, and Niels Storm Robizky, a German hip-hop will make shake the crowd in the Ho Tay Water Park. For more than a month, the Vietnamese capital is transformed into a unique art space where ASEM artists are performing visual and sound events. Beside of the concert programmes the ASEM 5 cultural event include fashion shows. Under the name “A meeting between tradition and future” a fashion show will present the latest collections of designers from Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam. The show presents not less than 450 costumes from 1-30 October . All these have been brought to the stages thanks to The Vietnamese authority, the Delegation of the European Commission to Vietnam, the Embassies of several ASEM partners in Vietnam. ASEF is also a partner to many of these events. The cultural programme in general is to mark the coming Asia-Europe Summit – the ASEM 5.

A unique film festival introduced the ASEM V side event. “The Colours of Cultures” run from 10-29 September . It was the first ASEM film event ever performed in the Vietnamese capital. The Ministry of Culture and Information of Vietnam co-operated with the European Cultural centres present in Hanoi -among them, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, and L'Espace. With the support of Asian and European embassies of the ASEM group they have selected a total of 19 movies for the “Colours of Cultures” film festival. The selection was made to give a glimpse of the modern socio-cultural issues and traits of their countries of origin. Themes were ranging from war and racial discrimination to love, hope, and daily life as reported Nguyen Thi Hong Ngat the Director of the Viet Nam Cinema Department (more in the Vietnam resource directory). Its programme proposed to each participating country to be represented by one film, one filmmaker. Vietnam, the hosting country was represented by the film "Nguoi Dan Ba Mong Du" (Sleep-Walking Woman) by Nguyen Thanh. Most of these films were produced recently. Many of the films shown are award winners as for example the German film "Somewhere in Africa" directed by Caroline Link. Films of Scandinavian countries attending the ASEM 5 Film Festival included 'Open Hearts' (Denmark) by director Susane Bier, 'One Way Ticket to Mombasa' of Finland by director Hanu Tuomainen, and 'Tsatsiki, Mum and the Policeman (Sweden) by Ella Lemhagen whose latest movie "Immediate Boarding" will make the opening of the coming Cinekid Festival in Amsterdam. The Dutch film "Twin Sisters" by Ben Sombogaart was selected for the opening of the “Colours of the Cultures” festival. The film depicted the story of two sisters separated during the Second World War. The film is also a metaphor of the separation that many of the ASEM countries have faced during the last century. The British Council took part in the Film Festival with the UK comedy ‘Calendar Girls' (2002). The British Council is a regular partner of the EU Film Festival that usually takes place in Hanoi in June. It aims to showcase foreign films for the Vietnamese public, who would otherwise have little opportunity to see such films. In the other direction, the British Council participated in the London public showing of ”Harmony in Hanoi”. The Tony Fabian's documentary film for BBC 4 is about music, culture and life in Vietnam. The film publicises the work of the British Council and the training of the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra by Colin Metters. The British Institution also commissioned a documentary to be made by a Vietnamese TV crew, with the aim of presenting a view of contemporary arts in Britain. The Institution plans to organise a parallel showing of the two new documentary films together to show the UK through the eyes of a Vietnamese director and Vietnam as seen by a British director. For this time, many of the ASEM embassies in Hanoi have add an unusual duty to their traditional services. As normaly, they have issued visa and related services, they have provided information regarding to the "D" visa during the ASEM Summit, and for "Colours of the Cultures" they have also offered free ticket to watch their national film production.

RELATED: Interview with actress Hong Anh (A Sleepwalking Woman)
The European Union Film Festival is organised since 1999 in collaboration between the Delegation of the European Commission and the EU Member States in Vietnam. Through the EU film festival the Vietnamese audience can enjoy the diverse array of cultures that make up today's European Union. (read more)

The film activities of the British Council in Vietnam


by Houchang Allahyari Film
Produced by EPO-FILM
In a Viennese hospital the newborn of an Austrian couple and a Turkish family of immigrant workers are mixed up and go home with the wrong parents. By the time the mistake comes to light, it emerges that the Turkish family - including baby - has been deported. The Austrians go to their village to get their child back.

by Philippe Boon, Laurent Brandenburger,
PETITES MISERES is a wacky wide-screen comedy about a frugal husban who spends his days repossessing goods purchased by big spenders -while an old friend teaches his neglected wife how to shop on the grand scale.

by Susanne Bier Film
Produced by ZENTROPA
What happens when fate suddenly snaps its fingers and turns life upside down at a stroke. This is the central question Danish director Susanne Bier poses and attempts to answer in her new feature Open Hearts made according to the Dogme rules. A young couple is looking forward to their wedding when an accident befalls them. You think your biggest problem today is going to get the shopping done and suddenly your fiancé gets run over. It's like a blade into your life, for better and for worse. The "worse" is the event as it takes place; the "better" is what happens afterwards... Open Hearts is a film about the promises we cannot keep and the life we cannot plan. It is a film about life, true love and the responsibility for the people we love.

By Hannu Tuomainen Film
Produced by CINEMAKER OY.
Pete, a 17-year-old ordinary school boy, suddenly loses his consciousness. The diagnosis is tough: the doctor cannot say for sure whether Pete will live to see his 18th birthday. On the hospital ward Pete meets Jusa, a master of black humour. Encouraged by some vodka, the boys decide to take night leave. Inspired by a song, Jusa has a fixation to see the magical beaches of Mombasa before he might die. Pete instead wants to go and confess his love to Kata - his dream girl from school. The guys bungle their way through Finland towards Lapland where Kata has a summer job, with two tickets to Mombasa in Jusa´s pocket. In Jusa's wild company Pete tastes the kind of life and fun that he never experienced in his safe middle-class home. Departure to Mombasa is due soon. Pete will have to face the decisions of his life…

by Sam Karmann Film
Produced by LES FILMS A4
It's a story of friendship. A story of a neighborhood. A story of a milieu. A story of culture. It's also a story about “men,” where women are never far away… At the forefront, we find Jacques, Francis and Didier, whose dreams interweave but whose destinies differ. It's the story of a “little week” whose action takes place in the bar-restaurant “Chez Roger,” and which revolves around a multitude of characters living in the Parisian neighborhood of Saint-Ouen today.

by Pupi Avati Film
Produced by DUEA FILM, Rai Cinema
The story is of an unlikely love affair between bookworm teacher Neri Marcoorè and blind-but-dazzling Vanessa Incontrada, set in 1920s Italy.


The Republic of Korea

Directed by Geneviève Mersch Film
Produced by SAMSA FILM
Abandoned in the early months of her life, Norah, aged 17, lives alone with her father. Norah feels guilty about all the world's misfortunes and, particularly, about Ayrton Senna's death, wich she saw on TV. Animated by a tough guilt feeling, Norah keeps up, since then, a privileged relationship with Ayrton Senna and, as a matter of fact,implies herself in humanitarian aid to keep an immaculate conscience.

The Netherlands TWIN SISTERS
By Ben Sombogaart Film
Produced by IDTV FILM
In Germany during the 1920s, twin sisters are separated following the death of their parents. One sister is raised by a well-to-do aunt in Holland while the other grows up in difficult circumstances on a German farm owned by an uncle.

The Philippines


by Jose Luis Garci Film
The aging Count of Albrit returns to Spain from the Americas, where he has lost almost all of his money searching for gold. There he finds his son dead and two granddaughters, one of whom is illegitimate. The Count must contend with his son's widow for his family's honor, but along the way he learns that blood ties are less important than love. Academy Award Nominee, Best Foreign Film.

By Eddie Thomas Petersen
Produced by FELICIA FILM
Ten year-old Tsatsiki lives happily with his rock singing mum Tina and Göran, the policeman. But for the moment he is not too happy. He is falling out with his girlfriend Maria and his best pal Per Hammar, and the family trip to Greece is jeopardised as his mum's rock group is offered a Japanese tour. However his grandfather goes with him to Greece and after an eventful holiday for the good and for the bad he returns home to be reconciled both with Maria and Per Hammar. And he has learned that without friends you are the loneliest person in the world.

United Kingdom
“CALENDAR GIRLS” Official website:
By Nigel Cole Film
Chris and Annie are the best of friends – very different, but very close. Living in a small village in the Yorkshire Dales, their peaceful lives are shattered when Annie's husband dies of leukaemia. An active member of the local Women's Institute, Chris enlists the support of her fellow members in a fund-raising initiative for the local hospital. Her seemingly traditional idea is to produce a calendar, with a different woman photographed for each month. Each one will be engaged in a classic WI task, such as jam making, flower pressing and knitting. Sounds traditional enough, but her idea has a radical twist - the women will be in the nude. Before they know it, the women are hitting the headlines at home and abroad. Whisked off to Hollywood on a whirlwind publicity tour, they take their turn on the talk shows and in magazine photo-shoots. Amidst the hype and glamour, the friendship between Chris and Annie is put to the test.