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Award-Winning Film 'Rom' to Hit Theaters in Vietnam on July 31

After eight years in development and months of not knowing whether the movie would be allowed to be screened, the filmmakers behind Rom can now heave a sigh of relief.

Tuoi Tre reports that an official premiere date for the drama film Rom has been finalized after getting the seal of approval from film authorities back in April. The movie will hit Vietnamese cineplexes on July 31 this year.

Rom made waves last year after news broke that it clinched the prestigious New Currents jury award at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), a category that honors excellent cinematic works by new Asian directors.

The movie is the passion project and directorial debut of local director Tran Dung Thanh Huy. He developed the full-length feature from the previous award-winning short film 16:30, which was screened as part of the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

Rom is a gritty, raw depiction of Saigon’s working-class families, centered around the residents of a derelict apartment marked for demolition. In hopes of changing their life, they often engage in số đề, a form of lottery-like gambling. Rom, the titular character, is a young bookie who has to compete with other kids to make a living in the neighborhood.

During last year’s award season, the production company got into trouble with censorship authorities for submitting their movie to BIFF without acquiring a distribution license first, and was eventually fined VND40 million. At that time, the prospects of local fans being able to watch the film in theaters was grim.

On April 1, Tran Dung Thanh Huy shared on his personal Facebook page that the movie was approved for screening, though he said in an interview with Tuoi Tre that the version to be shown in Vietnam will differ from that of BIFF. A number of scenes were flagged by the film censorship authority for removal, so the director has adjusted the local cut to ensure that its total length remains the same.

“Luckily, the approval committee still accepted the main story of the movie. The journey of the two main characters is still intact and the high-adrenaline chases across Saigon are still there,” he assured fans in a recent Facebook update. “Two versions in Vietnam and Busan have similar screen times.”

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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