According to statistics from the Cinematography Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, approximately twenty domestic digital films have been licensed for public release in the first half of 2021. These include titles that garnered attention before the fourth outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, such as “Khuc mua” (The Rain) by Bui Tuan Dung, “Bo gia” (Dad! I’m Sorry) by Tran Thanh and Vu Ngoc Dang, and “Gai gia lam chieu V – Nhung cuoc doi vuong gia” (Camellia Sisters 5: Living Like Royalty) by Bao Nhan and Nam Cito.
The emergence of digital movies during the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a suitable development direction, allowing cinematic works to reach the public despite the closure of many cinemas. This trend also demonstrates the integration and development occurring in the film industry.
On digital platforms, both fee-based and free-of-charge digital movies have attracted large audiences. However, this development also presents certain risks, including the need to control the scope of dissemination and protect copyright.
The digital movie catalogue compiled by the Cinematographic Department reveals two notable issues. Firstly, a high proportion of Vietnamese films are classified as unsuitable for audiences under the ages of 16 and 18. Secondly, the number of foreign digital movies is approximately three times higher than the number of domestic films.
In some instances, there were no licensed domestic digital films available, with only foreign movies being popularized. For example, in May 2021, 11 foreign digital movies from the US, France, Japan, and Norway were extensively released.
In terms of content, domestic digital films predominantly aimed to captivate viewers through genres such as entertainment, action, and horror. While rare films that explored post-war themes, such as “Khuc mua” by People’s Army Cinema, received high sales and accolades for their quality, many others were of average quality and relied on excessive violence, explicit scenes, and shocking situations. Consequently, these domestic digital films were deemed unsuitable for audiences under the ages of 16 and 18.
In contrast, the majority of licensed foreign digital movies were suitable for all audiences, with many falling under the category of unsuitable for viewers under the age of 13. Thus, while the increase in quantity is an encouraging sign of change, the quality of each cinematographic work and the balance between themes and genres remain challenges for the development of domestic digital movies. Additionally, experts have cautioned that distributing movies on digital platforms can pose risks in terms of controlling the scope, determining appropriate content for popularization, and protecting copyright.
Currently, there is a lack of strict mechanisms to classify movies according to different age groups. Furthermore, digital movies face significant challenges from piracy, despite generating relatively low revenue.
Many filmmaking units have signed contracts for popularization with specific partners, which include various terms. However, within hours of their release, many films are subjected to copyright infringement and are freely exploited. As the number of digital movies continues to increase rapidly, it is essential to implement specific mechanisms and solutions to foster their development and improve their quality.