HANOI, Vietnam - The screenplay of a popular movie about President Ho Chi Minh, compiled by veteran writer Son Tung, has just hit bookshelves throughout the country.
Entitled Cuoc Chia Ly Tren Ben Nha Rong (Farewell on Nha Rong Wharf), the work was adapted from the novel Bup Sen Xanh (Green Lotus) by Tung, himself, into a screenplay for the movie Hen Gap Lai Sai Gon (See You Again in Sai Gon) and directed by Long Van in 1990.
The draft of the screenplay was written in 1978, featuring Ho Chi Minh in his 20s. Yet the story was not filmed at that time. Tung then added more material he collected and turned the screenplay into the novel Bup Sen Xanh, which is considered one the most successful works and features Ho Chi Minh as an ordinary person, from a land noted of people who are fond of learning in the central province of Nghe An. The novel has been reprinted 30 times in the country and translated into numerous languages.
However, according to the writer, the novel did not focus on the deep love between young patriot Nguyen Tat Thanh (the born name of Ho Chi Minh used between 1901 and 1921) and a young southern woman, Le Thi Hue.
In 1987, some film directors suggested co-operating with Tung to film the novel to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late President. For that reason, Tung adapted Bup Sen Xanh into the movie screenplay Cuoc Chia Ly Tren Ben Nha Rong.
In this new screenplay, Tung maintained the basic content of Bup Sen Xanh, while further depicting the love of Hue and Thanh. Their passionate feelings arose when Thanh joined Quoc Hoc Hue school in 1907, though the young patriot set off for France in 1911 as a cook in a cargo ship to start his journey to seek a way to liberate the nation from colonialism.
In one of the most touching scenes in the movie, Thanh gave a comb to Hue, saying: "This comb belonged to my mother. My father bought her this as a souvenir before he left his homeland to go to the capital citadel to sit for a royal exam. My mother combed her hair with this for years. Since my mom passed away, I have kept it as a treasure. Now I give this to you as a gift, instead of speaking out the holy word you are waiting for."
Tung said that in order to write this section, he tried his best to find Hue, Thanh's girlfriend. He even sold his small house in Ha Noi to head for HCM City with his wife to look for Hue. They spent three months before finding her. Hue, now an old woman, asked the writer: "You have lived near President Ho for a long time. Have you ever heard him mention a woman called Hue?"
"I have never heard him say so. But, I saw several times that he put a branch of hue (tuberose) on his desk," he replied.
Hue was stunned for a while, her eyes were filled with tears. She then told Tung her story, but asked him to swear not to publish the story until she had died.
"I did not write the screenplay by chance," Tung said, "It stems from my respect for Ho Chi Minh."
Tung was born in 1928 in Nghe An, the same province as Ho Chi Minh's home, and he is a distant relative of the president.
Tung joined in two wars, against the French and Americans, working on the information and training staff from 1944 to 1971, before becoming a writer.
After the war, he had lost much of his health, having suffered from many injures.
Yet, he has written dozens of novels and short story collections since 1974.
He has also written 13 works about Ho Chi Minh, while his most successful one is Bup Sen Xanh. He is considered to be the writer with the most successful works about Ho Chi Minh.