“More than 100 hours of filming, 18 months accompanying the characters on the stage of passion and also in the life puzzles to complete in 50 minutes of the film, which are bare, emotional, and respectful moments…”
“The Glorious Pain” is a documentary film which features the journey of a small classical Vietnamese opera (Tuồng) troup and one of the very few left, as they travel and perform through the Western Vietnam countryside. The Royal characters, behind the closed curtains are commoners and peasants who struggle to make ends meet. The troup is on the verge of disbandment because the main artists were going through a hard time. What future awaits the troup and its artists? Would it disappear in the same way as many other traditional art forms?
“The Glorious Pain” is a the journey of Tuong artists who brings the music and their singing to the audiences in the countryside of Western provinces. During each Ky Yen festival, members of Phuong Anh singing troupe, coming from different places such as Can Tho, Soc Trang, and Bac Lieu, gather at the communal houses both to perform for the people, and to pay tribute to the ancestor of the profession, and to pray for peace, and happiness. In this journey, people from the Southern West part of Vietnam are portrayed through their struggles as well as their efforts to maintain their inherent goodness and generosity.
“Khi bức màn buông, danh vọng hết. Người về lòng rũ sạch sầu thương,… Người vào cởi áo lau son phấn, Trả cả vinh hoa lẫn đoạn trường.”
Through documentary film as the form of expression the filmmaker team accompanied Phuong Anh singing troupe on multiple occasions both in their performances and daily life. Having the opportunity to be a part of their daily activities, to become a witness of their passion for the arts, and to appreciatethe authenticity in expression of the characters have brought us tremedous joy and meaning.
“The film does not employ interviews, voiceovers or special techniques; instead we tried to capture every single life moment as pieces in a puzzle. Our approach is inspired by a sense of curiosity and a genuine hope document the lives of our characters as they are. We believe that it was sincerity and the desire to learn that has helped us to set aside our own prejudices, to understand and appreciate our characters, and ultimate to tell stories about their experiences as they are lived, that is, a story of the Tuong artists in their everyday life as well as on stage, with all the glorious moments they have cherished and the pains endured”
– Le My Cuong, Director –
Although it is not difficult to convince the troupe to allow the filming process, it is not a matter of a day to let them do it with authenticity and vulnerability rather than mere acting.
For those working on this project, the valuable thing about this filmmaking journey is being able to naturally accompany the character’s life, transforming ourselves from total strangers to become a part of their more private worlds and intimate moments. We believe that sincerity and desire to learn have allowed us us to set aside our own prejudices, to understand and appreciate our characters, and ultimately to tell stories about their experiences as they are lived.
We look forward to receiving the support and assistance of the press and media units in this project, as well as to accompany us in the next journey of the project.
Thank you very much!