War doctor’s diary comes to life in film

The 2006 bestseller Nhat Ky Dang Thuy Tram (Dang Thuy Tram’s Diary) has been made into a film that will be featured on Reunification Day (April 30) this year.

A scene in the movie: a moment of Dang Thuy Tram

Dung Dot (Don’t Burn), directed and written by Dang Nhat Minh, is about the heroic army doctor’s life and her love for her country and people.

The movie started filming in late 2007, and the 11 billion VND production officially debuted in Hanoi on April 8, and was critically acclaimed for its stirring plot that features scenes in both the US and Vietnam.

The film opens with a battle in Quang Ngai province’s Duc Pho district, where Thuy Tram worked and died in 1970 from a US army attack.

However, the director asserts that he had no intention of turning the film version of the book into a movie about war. Rather, it is aimed at reminding people of the importance of loving others, and cherishing each moment of life.

After Thuy Tram’s last battle, American soldier Fred Whitehurst chanced upon her two diaries, which haunted him for the next 35 years until he returned them to her family three years ago.

The private memoirs, once popularly sought by readers both in Vietnam and around the world, are now preserved at the Vietnam Center and Archive in Lubbock, Texas. The English version was released under the title “Last Night I Dreamed of Peace”.

Dung Dot is the shortened form of what a Vietnamese interpreter named Huan, of the former Saigon regime, is supposed to have told Whitehurst when he handed them back after reading them: “Dung dot, trong do da co lua (Don’t burn [it], it has fire in it).” 

Minh explained that he shortened the phrase, because it would have been too long “for the audience to remember.”

Young starlet Minh Huong plays Tram in the film version, accompanied by seven professional American actors and actresses and features music composed by Hungarian musicians Benedicfi Zoltan and Benedicfi Istvan. 

The film will be shown on April 25 to locals in Duc Pho district where Tram died before it is fully released on April 30.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

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