The art has long become an integral part of the human life. Thanks to him people can express everything they want: beginning from the intimate personal feelings and ending with the patriotic aspirations. In the modern society cinematography is the most popular kind of art, which accompanies a human being from childhood to old age. The cinema is able to entertain people or even made them interested in some phenomenon or event; sometimes the cinematography even forces people to start understanding some phenomenon or event in a different way.
The cinematography and the history of mankind are connected by certain links. History has always attracted human attention because each country has its own history of independence. Such things as the national liberation movement or struggle for the independence occupy a special place in the culture of each country; moreover, these things are subject of special national pride of residents of every state.
The heroic past of every nation is something that shouldn’t be forgotten and even cannot be forgotten’ it’s something that is transmitting from generation to generation. Films about the heroic past (as about a native country, as any other state) can fascinate any moviegoer, who is able to think and empathize.
As we have already recalled, the cinematography is the most accessible and popularized contemporary kind of art. There are a lot of interesting movies about the most different times and things, including the struggle for independence and postcolonial life. Moreover, it’s impossible to describe the variety of postcolonial cinema in short form ("POSTCOLONIAL CINEMA WORLDWIDE."). One of the interesting examples of such cinema is On the Same River (Chung mot dong song), which was directed in 1959 ("On the Same River (1959) North Vietnam.").
Before we start talking about this movie it should be noted that Vietnam was a French colony, part of the Indo-Chinese Federation. After the World War II, on the territory of French Indochina were established new independent states, including Vietnam, or rather the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV).
We also should keep in mind that the complexity of the postcolonial state of affairs in a particular country consists in the fact that a country, which gains the independence, needs some new idea, which is able to unify citizens and give them hope and new aim. The achievement of independence by a country is similar to situation, when a young person reaches the legal age: a whole world of new possibilities and paths of development opens to young person (or country). However, the complexity consists in a choice of own path of development.
Of course, Vietnam wasn’t an exception and in the case of the North Vietnam, the communism, which is not the best way of development of the postcolonial society, has become a main national idea to the Vietnamese people ("State Department Memo: Anguish in North Vietnam.").
On the Same River tells about the life and struggle of the Vietnamese people after the end of First Indochina War, about all the difficulties and hopes of the Vietnamese postcolonial society. However, the most important thing that shows this movie is instability and devastation that dominates in the postcolonial country.
Before we start talking specifically about the movie, it is also worth noting the importance of understanding that colonialism has a lot of complicated consequences. Even after gaining the independence, former colonies have to go through many hardships.
In most cases, since the independence a state has to go through many difficult stages, during which governments replace each other, and together with them, ideologies, values and goals of a particular society are changing. It’s also worth to be noted that the postcolonial life is full of various attempts and mistakes, aspirations and disappointments. The film On the Same River has demonstrated one of these stages of life of the postcolonial Vietnamese society on the path to stability and peace.
Activities in the film takes place on the banks of the river, which is the border of the North and South Vietnam. In accordance with the Geneva Accords, Ben Hai River (Bến Hải) became a temporary demarcation line that had divided Vietnam into two parts ("Film Resource: Chung Một Dòng Sông (On the Same River)."). Protagonists of the film - Van and Hoai - love each other, but they are separated by the political contradictions, namely line of demarcation.
Their dream is to get married, but they are separated by the river, exactly the border that has divided the postcolonial Vietnamese society. Van lives in the North Vietnam and Hoai lives in the South Vietnam. Although they rarely met in the past, now they can’t see each other at all because the chief of police in the village, where lives Hoai, forbade her to move across the river. Furthermore, this chief of police loves Hoai and he wants her to be his wife.
Also one of the peculiarities of On the Same River is that this touching love story is happening against the background of the ongoing provocations from the South Vietnam, namely acts of sabotage in the village, where Hoai lives. This film demonstrates how problems of the postcolonial life destroy lives of ordinary people. Furthermore, if you allow yourself to fantasize, it can be also assumed that the director of this movie on the example of these loving couple wanted to show that divided Vietnam cannot exist (just as the protagonists of the film cannot live without each other).
It is worth noting that On the Same River is the first movie of the revolutionary North Vietnam (The Democratic Republic of Vietnam). The premiere of this film was held on the July 20, 1959. Also one more interesting point of this movie, or rather of the process of its making, consists in the fact that the film-makers (Nguyen Hong Nghi & Pham Hieu Dan) and operator (Nguyen Dac) of the On the Same River have been trained in the French Institute of Cinematography ("Chung Mot Dong Song Directed by Nguyen Hong Nghi, Fl. 1959 and Pham Hieu Dan.").
In conclusion it can be said that some connoisseurs of the cinematography consider this movie classic. On the Same River (Chung mot dong song) has its own distinctive style, which is typical of the North Vietnamese filmmakers. The essence of this style is the simplicity and clarity of images, and even the deliberate imperfection of acting that makes the movie even more realistic and dramatic, showing the complexity of the Vietnamese postcolonial life.
However, it also should be noted the propaganda direction of this movie. After all, communism is inseparable from the propaganda. The Vietnamese revolutionary cinema (including On the Same River) exerted a great influence on the formation of the anti-imperialist, national liberation tendencies in the Vietnamese society.
"Chung Mot Dong Song Directed by Nguyen Hong Nghi, Fl. 1959 and Pham Hieu Dan." WAYF. Web. 09 May 2016. <http://search.alexanderstreet.com/preview/work/bibliographic_entity|video_work|2452198>.
"Film Resource: Chung Một Dòng Sông (On the Same River)." The Center for Southeast Asian Studies. 2012. Web. 09 May 2016. <http://www.cseashawaii.org/2012/01/film-resource-chung-một-dong-song-on-the-same-river/>.
"On the Same River (1959) North Vietnam." IMDb. Web. 09 May 2016. <http://gb.imdb.com/title/tt2136824/>.
"POSTCOLONIAL CINEMA WORLDWIDE." Colonialism and Postcolonialism. Web. 09 May 2016. <http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Academy-Awards-Crime-Films/Colonialism-and-Postcolonialism-POSTCOLONIAL-CINEMA-WORLDWIDE.html>.
"State Department Memo: Anguish in North Vietnam." PBS. PBS. Web. 09 May 2016. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/lbj-memo/>.