Tran Anh Khoa, playing Rom in the movie of the same title, won the Best Actor Award at the 18th Asian Film Festival. 

This award is among the five most important of the festival, together with the Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, and Most Original Film.

The Poster of the film.

The award-winning movie takes the background of the breathtaking brio on the mean backstreets of Ho Chi Minh City, revolving around the 14-year-old Rom, a seller who earns commissions only when he picks the lucky numbers for his slum neighborhood’s debt-ridden dwellers.

The message that the film wants to convey: do not stop exploring and perfecting yourself because time goes by very quickly. Through the film, I want to remind young people not to get lost in bad habits,” the actor said.

The movie was written and directed Tran Thanh Huy (Khoa’s sibling) and is screened in Vietnamese with English subtitles.

According to Huy, the Rom movie took him eight years to make. It had no corporate sponsorships, fancy costumes, beautiful sets, or famous stars. Instead, all of its crew were first-time filmmakers or actors. Huy decided to make this feature after winning multiple short film awards after graduating college at age 22.

A scene from Rom movie. Photo: Elle Man

“The movie perfectly captures the life of Ho Chi Minh City’s working-class, where there’s fierce competition to survive between the poor. However, Rom also shows that there are still people willing to lend a helping hand in this urban jungle, where love and sympathy are still existing,” movie commentator Hoang Cuong told The Hanoi Times.

Rom was among the four Vietnamese movies screened at the festival. Three others were Bac Kim Thang (Home Sweet Home), Bo Gia (Dad, I’m sorry), and Tiec trang mau (Blood Moon Party).
The Asian Film Festival in Italy is organized by the Roberts Bresson Film Foundation which selects the best films in East Asia, with special attention given to young directors.
A total of 28 feature and two short films from 11 East Asian countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore, are featured at the event that took place from June 17 to 23.
Asian Film Festival in Italy is one of the most important showcases of Asian Film coming from Far East countries and territories such as South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, China and its Taiwan and Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia.

Earlier, Rom won the New Current Award at 24th Busan International Film Festival in 2019 and the Best First Feature award at the 24th Fantasia international film festival in 2020.