Giang Hoang (PhD) is a tenured Lecturer and the Head of the Arts Studies Department, Faculty of Literature, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University. She was a visiting scholar at Harvard-Yenching Institute and at the Harvard Asia Center. Her research centers on the relations between eco-cinema and the socio-political discourses in Asian films. She has published several monographs and over 50 essays on global cinema and arts, both domestically and internationally. Her publications have appeared in ISLE, Journal of Urban Culture Research, Asian Studies, and Journal of Narrative and Language Studies. E-mail: gianghc@gmail.com


The Trend of Movies as Tourism Promotion: From Picturesque Landscapes to Eco-consciousness in Vietnam

Abstract: In 2002, after the success of the movie Blood Letter by Victor Vu, located in the Vietnamese province of Ninh Binh, there was a bloom of commercial films shot in famous places and a growing trend of movies aimed at promoting tourism, such as Story of Pao (2006), Beautiful in Every Centimeter (2009), I Will Come Back (2013), Yellow Flowers on Green Grass (2015), Father and Son (2017), and Sunset Promise (2019). Many domestic critics and audiences responded positively to this movement and expressed their pride when national scenic spots were shown to international spectators. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism opened a nationwide public campaign to prop up these films. However, behind the eye-catching frames, the picturesque landscapes, and the smooth cinematography, it is not clear whether films like these support the ecological discourse of preserving the indigenous natural landscape. This paper will address this question, considering the effects of socialist nationalism and the mass production of capitalism in cinema and popular culture. How do these films affect the eco-consciousness of audiences? How do they provide viewers with a firm belief in the indestructible and sustainable beauty of the national landscapes? And how do they distract viewers’ visual interest from practical issues? The paper also examines the environmental state of the tourist sites after the movies were released, to figure out the consequences on the environment of these tourist-promoting films.
Keywords: tourism promotion, picturesque landscapes, eco-consciousness, socialist nationalism, mass production