The remaking of the classic opera Nua Doi Huong Phan is another artless piece of shit from Thuy Nga Production. The actors’ performances are passable (with the exception of Manh Quynh whose acting skill is equal to none and whose face always has that chicken-swallowing-rubber-band paleness to it), but the editing is horrendous.
Who are they trying to fool by incorporating shots of Viet Nam sceneries into the actual production outside of Viet Nam? The differences between the two are significance. A typical scene would start out with a shot of a ghetto part of Sai Gon then cut into a half-assed setting of a broken home somewhere in the States. For the sake of art, if Thuy Nga wanted to capture the visual aesthetics of Viet Nam, film the entire show in Viet Nam. If they don’t want to deal with the politics, just do it in the States. Mixing and mashing the two places together is disorienting and annoying.
The worse element of the film is the sloppy sound editing. A dialogue is loud and noisy but when the actors are about to do an opera soaring, the sound switches to a studio recording, which is quieter and clearer. In one act, Hoai Linh was doing a superb job of conveying an angry dad and he yelled real loud, but suddenly the studio sound cued in and dropped his voice. I know right away, he is about to sing.
What is up with the make-up artists? They tried to make Huong Lan looks older by drawing lines on her face. As she stepped into in scene, my first reaction was like, “What the heck is a cat woman doing in Nua Doi Huong Phan?” So when she sobbed, her face was a big mess. Looking at her face reminded me of my own back in 1991 when I needed a trick-or-treat makeup, and my sister did a much better job than Thuy Nga’s artists.
So if you’ve been caught up into the whole Thuy Nga’s buzz about Nua Doi Huong Phan, save yourself twenty bucks. If you want to cry a river, try to look for the infamous rendition with Thanh Nga in it. Did I purchase the DVD? You’re crazy!