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The Third Wife film screen ban over underage sex scene
  • |, LD | May 22, 2019 08:53 AM

Vietnamese movie The Third Wife or Vo Ba which has won numerous international awards has been banned from being screened in Vietnam due to sex scenes featuring the 13-year-old girl main actress.

Under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s instruction, the suspension was applied from May 20. The ministry also asked the Cinema Department to check the film licensing again to report to the ministry before May 24.


Nguyen Phuong Tra My plays the role of 15-year-old wife in the film

The film by director Nguyen Phuong Anh is for viewers aged over 18. It reflects the injustice faced by Vietnamese women in the past and other outdated customs such as arranged child marriage, gender prejudice and polygamy in feudal Vietnam.

Set in late-19th century rural Vietnam, The Third Wife is the story of 14-year-old May (played by actress Nguyen Phuong Tra My, 13 years old) who struggles with family politics, her own agency, and the prospect of motherhood after she becomes the third wife of a wealthy landowner.

The young actress portrayed losing her virginity and childbirth in the film.

Since being shown in Vietnam, the film has drawn controversy over the bed scenes.

Some people agreed that a 13-year-old girl is suitable for the role; however, many others opposed this, saying that Vietnam is fighting against paedophiles, so the film should have used an older actress.

The film producer Tran Thi Bich Ngoc said My’s mother agreed her to play in such sensitive scenes and the film crew always tried to ensure her safety.


A scene in the film

My beat more than 900 other candidates to be selected for the role.

The 96-minute feature renowned Vietnamese star actresses such as Tran Nu Yen Khe, Le Vu Long, Mai Thu Huong, Nguyen Phuong Tra My, Nguyen Thanh Tam and Lam Thanh My.

Before winning the NETPAC award, the film received the Best Art Film Project prize at the Gap Go Mua Thu 2016 (Autumn Meeting) forum for independent film producers, the Non-Hong Kong Project Award at the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, the White Light Post-Production Award, as well as an award from the Jerome Foundation in New York.

The film then went on to clinch several awards at other festivals including the Best Film Award of the International Category at the Kolkata International Film Festival in India, Best Artistic Contribution at Cairo International Film Festival 2018 in Egypt and TVE-Another Look Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain.

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