Tiếng Việt

Duy Tan Dream

Teary eyes as Vietnamese MiG-17s shoot down US planes in the recreation of the ‘Vietnam Air War’

The whole theater seemed to be on the verge of tears when they watched Vietnamese MiG-17s shoot down US planes in the first aerial battle of the Vietnam Air War. The audience was shocked by the authenticity of this first documentary from Duy Tan University in Danang.

A trailer for Vietnam Air War - The First Swallows 
On May 15th the Vietnam Air War - The First Swallows  was released at the CGV cinema in Hanoi. It is a 50-minute two-part documentary featuring the Battle of Ham Rong in Thanh Hoa Province on April 4, 1965. The first part is a documentary, where witnesses are interviewed and computer recreations used to visualize the event. The second part then shows the entire battle with real actors. The second part is simpler, where the blend of music, imagery and animation have an astoundingly emotional effect.
The film also demanded a high degree of historical accuracy.  “It was important to us is that we were honest with ourselves and as objective as possible. Otherwise we’d be betraying our history.” Dr. Le Nguyen Bao explained.
V? òa khi xem MiG-17 b?n roi Máy bay M? c?a ‘Không chi?n Vi?t Nam’
Lieutenant General Tran Hanh, the only Vietnamese Air Force survivor of the first aerial battle, attended the screening.  Photo: Ngoc Diep
All in all, The First Swallows allows the audience to relive the battle, the heroism and tragic moments of the Vietnamese air force pilots. When the movie finished, many in the audience were curious to know how a normal university could embark on such a challenging project, and how they had been able to obtain such fine results
Máy bay M? trang b? h?a l?c h?ng n?ng g?m tên l?a t?m nhi?t và bom v?i muu d? dánh s?p c?u Hàm R?ng. (?nh: Silver Swallow Studio)
Image from The First Swallows
Dr. Le Nguyen Bao, DTU Provost and head of the First Swallows project, explained that, when studying in the US, he saw a great many movies about the air war, only showing US planes downing Vietnamese ones. Out of national pride, he decided to make a movie about the aerial battles, to help younger generations get a better understanding of the Vietnam War and what really happened.
Dr. Le Nguyen Bao staffed the Silver Swallows Studio with twenty project developers. With their passion and fervent desire to master the latest VFX technology (Visual Effect or Effect), which was still unknown in Vietnam, the Silver Swallows team took five years to create and develop the film. 
“We should only have taken a year and a half. However, during production, many of our team left to pursue other attractive opportunities elsewhere, because we couldn’t afford to keep them, which is why we took so long. Personally, film-making is my passion, not my profession.”, Dr. Le Nguyen Bao explained.
Vietnam Air War - The First Swallows  demanded a high degree of historical accuracy. The aerial battle was very one-sided. The US forces were well-trained and battle-hardened, had modern airplanes and pilots with thousands of flight hours. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese pilots were mostly soldiers, with little training and only 200 flight hours. The few Vietnamese MiG-17s, acquired from Russia, were very outdated compared to the US aircraft.
'Nh?ng cánh én d?u tiên' c?a th?y trò làm phim tay ngang ra r?p
The four hardened pilots of the Red Star Regiment
Lieutenant General Tran Hanh of the Red Star Regiment attended the screening. He said: “The movie portrays a truly fierce battle. The war was really just as savage as the movie and we were very touched to see it.”
According to Dr. Le Nguyen Bao, despite the tiring past five years, the film crew still intended to make fictional film as a follow-on to the Vietnam Air War documentary. He said: “Producing a fictional film will allow us to be more inventive and adventurous, reducing the pressure to remain strictly historically accurate, as in the documentary.”
(Media Center)