“The Tap Box” (aka “Song Lang”) is an odd couple drama set in 1980s Saigon. It pitches a cold-hearted debt collector from the gangster milieu together with the main actor from a Cia-Luong (Vietnamese traditional opera) company. Despite the gulf between them, they discover that they are kindred spirits.
Directed by Leon Le, and produced through Studio 68, the film has already enjoyed a theatrical run in its home territory, and is now looking for international releases to follow a high-profile festival berth in the first quarter of 2019. “This is absolutely classical, high-quality art house cinema,” said Bich Hanh Ngo, VP of sales and acquisitions at BHD.
From a completely different vein, the company is also pitching “The Cougar Queen 2.” The romantic comedy kicks off with a famous TV hostess who is inadvertently dumped by her boyfriend live on air. The film’s imminent release is expected to be a major box office draw.
Fueled by a multiplex building scramble between four big players, of which BHD is one, Vietnam is one of Asian cinema’s key growth markets. The contrasts within BHD’s production and distribution slate neatly reflect the current state of the Vietnamese cinema market, in which a variety of local titles jostle for position against a still-dominant Hollywood sector, imported Chinese titles and remakes of high-concept Korean films.