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Jul 03, 2023 / 16:33

People’s Artist Bui Dinh Hac passes away

The director is famous for a series of movies, including "Hanoi 12 Days and Nights" reflecting relentless defense against US Air Force in 1972.

Bui Dinh Hac, a movie director and People's Artist, died on July 1 at 89 in Hanoi.

Director Bui Dinh Hac. Photo courtesy of his family

The director had been struggling with stroke and respiratory diseases for several years until that day, said his son, director Bui Trung Hai.

"My father was not well. He had been staying at home for the past few years. But he was well aware of the development of Vietnam's film industry," Hai said.

The renowned director was born on June 4, 1934, in Hien Quan Commune, Tam Nong District, Phu Tho Province.

In 1949, Hac joined the Vietnamese army. Four years later, he began his cinematic career at An Toan Khu Viet Bac (Viet Bac Safe Zone).

After the war ended and peace was restored in the North in 1954, director Hac went to the Hanoi Film School. After graduating, he continued his studies at the VGIK (All-Union State Institute of Cinematography) in the Soviet Union.

He is considered one of the founders of Vietnamese revolutionary cinematography.

During his 50-year career, Director Hac worked on documentary and feature films.

He was awarded the title of People's Artist (First Class) in 1984. In 2007, he was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize for Literature and Art for outstanding contributions to Vietnamese cinema.

Throughout his career, director Hac has won three first and one second prizes at several international film festivals. He also won seven Golden Lotus Awards and one Silver Lotus Award at Vietnamese film festivals.

The veteran director was head of the Central Newsreel and Documentary Film Studio, the Vietnam Cinema Department, and deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Cinema Association.

Notable works

Throughout his career, director Bui Dinh Hac established himself as one of the greatest directors in the Vietnamese film industry.

The file photo shows director Bui Dinh Hac holding a microphone while filming Hanoi 12 Days and Nights. Photo courtesy of his family

Among his notable works is Ha Noi 12 ngay va dem (Hanoi 12 Days and Nights), which recounts the relentless, heroic, and brilliant air defense campaign by Hanoi authorities, people, and soldiers against the US Air Force in December 1972.

The film was produced in 2002, when Hac was 68 years old, the last time he worked as a director. It was the first to use special effects and modern technology.

From 2002 to 2005, the motion picture represented Vietnam at many major international film festivals, including Locarno in Switzerland, Fokuoka in Japan, Cairo in Egypt, Vesoul in France, and Fajr in Iran.

"The film 'Hanoi 12 Days and Nights' is an epic depicting the battles against the US B52 bomber in the air over the city," said director Dang Nhat Minh.

"His death is a great loss for the Vietnamese film industry," Minh said.

Director Bui Trung Hai, who worked with his father on "Hanoi 12 Days and Nights," said the two got along well professionally.

"He would want me to be creative and patient to make a production of the highest quality," Hai said.

"We loved to discuss and exchange ideas. I might have to listen to my father at home, but at work, it was a different story," he said.

"The most important thing is that we were able to turn our discussions and ideas into real solutions for our motion picture.

Other masterpieces

In addition to "Hanoi 12 Days and Nights," Bui Dinh Hac directed other films such as "Nuoc ve Bac Hung Hai" (Water Returns to Bac Hung Hai), "Anh Nguyen Van Troi song mai" (Nguyen Van Troi Forever in Our Heart), "Duong ve que me" (Journey Back to My Homeland), "Sai Gon thang 5 nam 1975" (Saigon in May 1975), and "Ho Chi Minh - Chan dung mot con nguoi" (Ho Chi Minh - Portrait of a Person).

"Water returns to Bac Hung Hai" was Hac's debut work, produced in 1959 when the director was 25 years old. The documentary won the Gold Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival that same year, the first international award for a Vietnamese film. It also helped Hac win the Golden Lotus at the Vietnam Film Festival in 1973.

In 1990, Hac won the Golden Lotus with the documentary "Ho Chi Minh - Portrait of a Person" at the Vietnam Film Festival held that year. The documentary was also the best film at the 1990 National Film Festival and was awarded the best film production in honor of the 100th birthday of the late President Ho Chi Minh in the same year.