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INTERVIEW

Nguyễn Trọng Khoa director of INSTANT NOODLE Vũ Điệu Đường Cong showing on

Q: Can you comment on the prevalence of the “instant noodle” movie industry in Vietnam? A: It’s the same reason why we eat instant noodle meals. It’s quick to prepare and consume, it fills you up for the time being, and it’s not too expensive. At some point in the future, the Vietnamese audience will want more and demand more than this, but in the meantime it’s acceptable. So that’s what the industry still serves up. It satisfies both the seller and the consumer. There are filmmakers and investors who strive to change this, but habits and routines take time to break. Q: As a director / writer, have you ever been in a position where you feel pressured by investors to create “instant noodle” movies? A: If you look at the English title [of the movie], then look at what the Vietnamese title was changed to, and then watch the film, you will have your answer. Q: As the actor who plays the director role in Instant Noodle resembles you physically, is the movie autobiographical in any way? A: At one point in my life I did have long hair, earrings, and a goatee, but not at the present moment. I think the characters you take part in creating do embody elements from your conscious and subconscious. There are personality traits from your friends, the people you know or meet, and even a few quirks that resemble yourself. I would say the passion and drive for the profession is partly me. I would say the frustration is partly me as well.

FRIDAY, APRIL 5 2:00 PM – 4:15 PM

BOWERS MUSEUM www.bowers.org 2002 N. Main Street Santa Ana, CA 92706


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INTERVIEW

Q: How did you come up with the idea of having a dentist as the male romantic lead? A dentist is not someone people would usually see in a romantic light, though there is much intimacy between a dentist and patient. A: A person’s smile plays such a big part in the attraction between a man and a woman. For an actress, it’s huge because her career and livelihood depends on it. I wanted the male lead to be a character that brings a smile to people’s faces. His occupation also provides the unlikely opportunity for him to meet his love interest. Q: Similarly, why did you choose belly dancing to showcase in the movie, rather than say tango? Is belly dancing one of the latest trends in Saigon? A: Belly dancing was incorporated in the story because it’s a very sensual, seductive, and empowering dance that a female can perform on her own. I wanted to show the shift that’s happening in Vietnamese society where women are becoming more confident, independent, and resourceful as they take on bigger roles in the workplace. Belly dancing definitely is growing in popularity in Vietnam as a form of exercise, dance, and expression of individuality. Q: Please share with us any directorial / writing project you working on now. A: Currently, I have a few projects in the brew. One is a horror drama that I wrote a year ago which I’m seeking financing for and hope to make in the near future. I’m also developing scripts for an ensemble drama and possibly an action flick for a Director friend. In the meantime, I continue to teach in the Multimedia Design Program at RMIT Vietnam and occasionally do some freelance writing/directing for commercials and corporate videos. Interviewed by: James Dinh

Instant Noodle is writer and director Nguyễn Trọng Khoa’s second feature film. 14 Days (14 Ngày Phép) screened at ViFF in 2011. Nguyễn attended film school at the University of Southern California, and now lives and works as a filmmaker in Saigon.


ViFF Interview Nguyen Trong Khoa