Vietnam looks into first film plagiarism case

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Inferno by Vietnamese-American director Victor Vu has become the first Vietnamese film to be officially checked for plagiarism.

The film has been embroiled in a plagiarism scandal since its release last fall. Moviegoers and critics alike said the film is too similar to Shattered, a Hollywood flick released in 1991. They both tell the story of a man who loses his memory in a traffic accident and later discovers a shocking truth about his past.

The scandal reignited over the past few weeks as the film was submitted to compete in the Golden Kite Awards, the Vietnamese equivalent of the Oscars. 

Amid the controversies, Vietnamese cimena regulators have decided to look into both films. A conclusion is expected to be announced this week. 

Nguyen Van Tan, an official of the Vietnam Film Association, told news website VnExpress that as a Vietnamese film, Inferno is eligible to be considered for the best film award. Moreover, no offiical plagiarism accusation has been made by Hollywood filmakers so far. 

Director Victor Vu told Thanh Nien in October last year that he had not seen Shattered and rejected all plagiarism allegations. "Inferno is a story I wrote when I was a student, around 1996," he said. "There are many similar films around the world, and I think this is only a coincidence."

If the allegation against Inferno is cleared, it will compete against 10 other local films for the title of Vietnamese best film. The chance of the film winning the award, however, might have been hurt due to the controversies so far. 

The Golden Kite Awards will be held in Ho Chi Minh City on March 13.

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