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Canadian wins prestigious Chopin piano competition

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Canadian classical pianist Bruce Xiaoyu Liu was awarded first prize in the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. — Photo courtesy of Chopin Institute

WARSAW — Canadian pianist Bruce Xiaoyu Li, student of renowned Vietnamese pianist Đặng Thái Sơn, was awarded first prize in the Chopin piano competition in Warsaw yesterday.

“Being able to play Chopin in Warsaw is one of the best things you can imagine,” 24-year-old Liu said as the jury announced their decision at the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall.

Previous winners of the Chopin Competition include some of the greatest names in classical music, such as Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich and Krystian Zimerman.

Another of Sơn’s students, JJ Bui, won the 6th prize of the XVIII Warsaw International Chopin Competition, clinching one of the world’s most prestigious music awards.

Sơn, who himself was the first Asian to win first prize and the gold medal at the piano competition in 1980, sent his congratulations and expressed his pride on his students’ achievements on Facebook. The Vietnamese pianist is now teaching at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in the US.​​​​​​

Held every five years since 1927, the Chopin competition would normally have been held last year, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic – a first since World War II.

“It was challenging to get all the competitors into Poland,” Artur Szklener, director of the National Institute of Frederic Chopin, which organises the competition, had said.

But one of the 17 jury members, Argentinian concert pianist Nelson Goerner, said that pandemic-related lockdowns helped raise the standard of this year’s competition.

“The level this year is remarkable,” Goerner said earlier in the competition.

“The pianists have had more time to prepare and I think the pandemic has awakened in all of us a desire to go further, to surpass ourselves,” he said.

“You can hear it in how these young pianists are playing.”

Japan’s Kyohei Sorita, 27, came joint-second with 26-year-old Italian-Slovenian Alexander Gadjiev.

Spain’s Martin Garcia Garcia, 24, came third.

‘Sleep and party’

Born in Paris, Liu graduated from Montreal Conservatoire.

He has performed with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and has been on two tours in China.

“The pandemic actually made this kind of meeting for me more special,” Liu said after his victory.

Liu said he had to be “really careful all the time” during the coronavirus crisis, so as to be able to keep up his competition and concert schedule, and as a result had “not met many people” in the past two years.

He also said he hoped the competition would be “just a start” in his musical journey.

“It’s hard to keep the freshness, to continuously find new ideas so I hope this is not the last point,” he told reporters.

He added that he was looking forward “to be finally able to sleep and party”.

This year’s event drew 87 pianists from across the globe, including 22 from China, 16 from Poland and 14 from Japan.

Broadcast live on YouTube and via a bespoke mobile app, the contest attracted record online interest.

Some 70,000 people watched the result streamed online. — AFP/

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1063082/canadian-wins-prestigious-chopin-piano-competition.html

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Three Vietnamese directors win awards at Singapore International Film Festival

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Three young Vietnamese directors have been named the winners of various prizes at the 2021 Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF).

The 2021 SGIFF ran from November 25 to December 5, featuring a diverse and inclusive range of over 100 films by filmmakers from all over the world.

The winners of the festival’s Silver Screen Awards were announced on Sunday.

Representatives from Vietnam won three awards this year.

‘The Men Who Wait’ by Truong Minh Quy won the Best Southeast Asian Short Film.

A screenshot from ‘Grandma’s Broken Leg’ by Huynh Cong Nho. Photo: SGIFF

A screenshot from ‘Grandma’s Broken Leg’ by Huynh Cong Nho. Photo: SGIFF

The organizing board stated that the film depicts the aspirations and loneliness of people in their most vulnerable state.

‘Grandma’s Broken Leg’ by Huynh Cong Nho was honored with the Youth Jury Prize.

The Fellowship Prize was given to Pham Hoang Minh Thy for ‘Daughter of the Mountain God.’

Thy shared this prize with Filipino director Paul Rembert Patindol for his ‘Rafael’ film.

This year’s Best Film went to ‘Hit The Road’ by Iranian director Panah Panahi, while the Best Director title was presented to India’s P.S. Vinothraj for ‘Pebbles.’

Vietnamese director Pham Hoang Minh Thy. Photo: SGIFF

Vietnamese director Pham Hoang Minh Thy. Photo: SGIFF

The SGIFF is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore.

Founded in 1987, the festival focuses on showcasing international films and providing a global platform for the best of Singapore cinema, according to its website.

With the Silver Screen Awards as a component, the event recognizes excellence in Asian cinema in two main categories – Asian Feature Film Competition and Southeast Asian Short Film Competition.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20211206/three-vietnamese-directors-win-awards-at-singapore-international-film-festival/64574.html

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Vietnamese, Hollywood films hit cinemas in festive season

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Teenage actress Lâm Thanh Mỹ plays in ‘Bóng Đè’ (The Ancestral), a long-awaited horror movie directed and written by Lê Văn Kiệt, which is coming to cinemas on December 24. Photo courtesy of the producer

HCM CITY – A number of Vietnamese and Hollywood movies will be released during the festive season to attract audiences back to the cinemas.

Bóng Đè (The Ancestral), a long-awaited horror movie directed and written by Lê Văn Kiệt, is coming to cinemas on December 24. Even though the film has not been officially released, it has already been licensed for distribution in 25 countries.

The work revolves around a widower named Thành and his two daughters. After suffering a family tragedy, Thanh and his children move to a centuries-old ancestral home where both daughters fall prey to sleep paralysis and night terrors.

The film features actor Quang Tuấn and teenage actresses Lâm Thanh Mỹ and Mai Cát Vi.

Mỹ, 15, rose to fame when acting in the award-winning movie Tôi Thấy Hoa Vàng Trên Cỏ Xanh (Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass) in 2015.

Meanwhile, the 12-year-old Vi is known for a supporting role in the action movie Hai Phượng (Furie), another work by director Kiệt which earned VNĐ160 billion (US$6.9 million) in the domestic market and VNĐ40 billion in the international market.

Kiệt graduated from the School of Theater, Film and Television at University of California, Los Angeles.

His popular works include horror film Ngôi Nhà Trong Hẻm (House in the Ally) and mystery-thriller Dịu Dàng (Gentle) – a modern Vietnamese adaptation of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel A Gentle Creature.

Another Vietnamese film, Bẫy Ngọt Ngào (Naked Truth), a directorial debut by female director Đinh Hà Uyên Thư, is set to premiere on December 31.

Thư, who is famous for producing viral music videos for Vietnamese pop stars like Sơn Tùng M-TP, Noo Phước Thịnh and Tóc Tiên, has spent three years on the drama about love, friendship and marriage.

The film features Bảo Anh, Minh Hằng and Diệu Nhi, who are expected to guarantee box-office success for the film. 

‘Bẫy Ngọt Ngào’ (Naked Truth), a directorial debut by female director Đinh Hà Uyên Thư, is set to premiere on December 31. Photo courtesy of the producer

“We’ve spent a tough year due to the pandemic. We set the premiere day of Bẫy Ngọt Ngào on December 31, a special day when people welcome a new year. Out with the old, in with the new!” said singer-actress Minh Hằng, the film’s producer.

“The year-end season is the perfect time for a film release. Despite competing with Hollywood blockbusters, Vietnamese film producers have been working very hard to bring audiences quality productions. I believe our works are going to bear fruit and the Vietnamese film industry will see a bright journey in 2022,” said the 35-year-old.

Bẫy Ngọt Ngào was scheduled to be released in May, but was postponed because of the fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rừng Thế Mạng (Survive), a psychological thriller by director Trần Hữu Tấn, which was scheduled to be released in June, will be in cinemas on December 31.

In addition, the festive season will see the premiere of Hollywood films in Việt Nam such as No Time To Die, Spider-man: No Way Home, Fast and Furious 9, and The Matrix Resurrections.

Nguyễn Hoàng Hải, chief content officer of CJ CGV Vietnam, said: “CGV hopes the reopening of cinemas revives the film industry. The company is ready to serve audiences with many Vietnamese and Hollywood films. In addition, many special Vietnamese film productions are completed and expected to premiere in the holiday season and for Tết (Lunar New Year).”

On November 19, HCM City authorities allowed cinemas to reopen in low risk (green), medium risk (yellow) and high risk (orange) zones, but not in very high risk red zones. Cinemas in green zones can operate at full capacity, while cinemas in yellow and orange zones must limit their capacity to 50 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

Employees and customers need to be fully vaccinated and must comply with 5K COVID-safety rules, and use QR codes and apps to make medical declarations.

Despire reopening, cinemas owned by Thiên Ngân (Galaxy) Cinemas, CGV, Lotte and BHD have not seen many moviegoers in recent days. 

Nguyễn Minh Đức of District 2 said he decided to go to the cinema alone, and not accompany his group of friends, to avoid gatherings.

“Many people are still worried about COVID-19, so they go to the cinema alone or stay at home to watch movies on streaming platforms,” Đức said:

Hải of CGV said since reopening, revenue has reached 30-35 per cent compared to before the pandemic.

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1093518/vietnamese-hollywood-films-hit-cinemas-in-festive-season.html

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Writing contest for students launched

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Students are encouraged to participate in the writing contest called Tết 5k (Lunar New Year Festival with 5K anti-coronavirus rules) launched by the Áo Trắng (White Long Dress school uniform) magazine in HCM City. Photo courtesy of the organiser

 

HCM CITY — A writing contest targeting Vietnamese students at home and abroad has been launched by the Áo Trắng (White Long Dress school uniform) magazine in HCM City. 

The contest, Tết 5k (Lunar New Year Festival with 5K anti-coronavirus rules), aims to discover and support young writers. It will offer offer prizes in the categories of essay and short stories. 

The organiser seeks works with themes about people’s daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly living safely in the “new normal” state with the anti-coronavirus rules 5Ks, which in Vietnamese stands for: Khẩu trang (facemask), Khử khuẩn (disinfection), Khoảng cách (distance), Không tụ tập (no gathering), and Khai báo y tế (health declaration). 

The stories, challenges and sacrifices that doctors, nurses and other health workers have faced in quarantine zones are encouraged. Themes on love, solidarity, mercy, energy and belief are also included.

Entries should be no less than 800 words and no longer than 1,500 words, and postmarked by January 1, 2022. They should be sent to the organiser’s email at tap[email protected]

Famous authors, poets and translators will be part of the jury. 

“We hope our contest will give students a chance to improve their writing and develop their talent,” veteran poet Trần Hoàng Nhân of Áo Trắng magazine, a member of the contest’s organising board, said.

 

Áo Trắng magazine was one of many popular magazines for secondary school students, including Tuổi Ngọc (Teen Age) and Hoa Học Trò (Flowers of Students), in the 1980s-90s in HCM City. Photo courtesy of the organiser

 Áo Trắng magazine was one of many popular magazines for secondary school students, including Tuổi Ngọc (Teen Age) and Hoa Học Trò (Flowers of Students), in the 1980s-90s in HCM City. 

The magazine worked with dozens of famous writers, such as Nguyễn Thị Minh Ngọc, Lê Minh Quốc and Tôn Nữ Thu Dung, to release books on teen loves, hopes and dreams. It released many works by students and young writers. 

The magazine was printed for the last time in October, 2021. It is scheduled to be availavle online in early 2022.

“The dearth of age-appropriate material leaves teenagers with very few choices for their needs. Writers and publishers should work together to increase the number of magazines and books for teenagers on the market,” said veteran author Từ Kế Tường, who worked for Áo Trắng in the 1980s.  

Tường began his career in 1969 in Sài Gòn (now Hồ Chí Minh City). He was popular in the 1970s and 80s. He has released more than 50 books, mostly novels and short stories for teenagers.

The best works of the contest Tết 5k will be published on the fanpage of Áo Trắng. The prize winners will be announced on January 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1093519/writing-contest-for-students-launched.html

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