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'Đêm Tối Rực Rỡ!' Wins Best Feature Film at 2021 Golden Kite Awards

In addition to Best Feature Film, Đêm Tối Rực Rỡ! (The Brilliant Darkness!) earned Lý Nguyễn Nhã Uyên a win for Best Leading Actress and Best Screenplay for the drama co-written and directed by her husband, Aaron Toronto.

Đêm Tối Rực Rỡ! beat out other notable films including Maika - Cô bé đến từ hành tinh khác (Maika - The Girl From Another Galaxy) and Bình minh đỏ (Red Dawn) for the top honor at the Golden Kite Awards, Vietnam's most prestigious honoring of domestic film and television productions.

The film focuses on the multi-generational trauma one family is forced to confront during a funeral ceremony. At the award ceremony held last week in Nha Trang, the American director thanked the National Fund For Vietnamese Children for helping support the production and its efforts to protect children from domestic violence. 

The movie argues that one must acknowledge abuse in order to heal and end cycles of violence. Its message-driven style is in line with Toronto's overarching philosophy regarding filmmaking. In a conversation before the film's spring release, he told Saigoneer: "It's why we watch movies; it's why we’ve told each other stories for thousands of years…we listen to stories to learn how to be a good human, how to live a good life."

At that time, Toronto shared that he would consider Đêm Tối Rực Rỡ! a success if it would allow him and his wife to make another film. The drama was considered a box-office triumph with domestic revenues of VND20 billion (US$847,456) in the unprecedented pandemic-affected year. 

The night's biggest surprise was 10-year-old Lại Trường Phú winning the Golden Kite for Best Lead Actor for his role in the family-friendly alien-comes-to-earth flick Maika - Cô bé đến từ hành tinh khác. Meanwhile, directors Trần Chí Thành and Nguyễn Thanh Vân were awarded Best Director for the movie Bình Minh Đỏ (Red Dawn) which detailed the wartime experiences of truck drivers tasked with delivering supplies.

The 19th edition of the awards enjoyed 147 entries, including 11 feature films, 14 television series, 45 documentaries, 10 scientific films, 28 works of animation as well as short films and various pieces of relevant criticism.

Read Saigoneer's review of Đêm Tối Rực Rỡ! here.

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