Before 2002, foreign films were not allowed screening in movie theatres. The government revised its policy in 2002 and the private movie studios were given the green signal to carry out their work. This policy change brought new opportunities for independent movie producers to become commercially successful. By 2005, the private studios were seeing success in terms of production and distribution of movies but the commercial and independent moviemakers received no funding.
The policy change seemed to lure for the expatriates who saw an opportunity in making films in Vietnam. Low-budget movie makers and technicians found the business profitable in the wake of increasing domestic disposable income. The expatriates especially jumped on the bandwagon. However, the moviemakers did not enjoy complete autonomy because the state policy determined the overall film production. The taste of the audience also governed the theme and movie genre. Betrayal and loyalty have turned out to be the two major themes in the Vietnamese film production history. The Rebel also portrays these themes, which are really relevant in the today’s Vietnam.
Vietnam had remained at war for such a long time that it drained its economy and the much-needed liquidity. The country has either fought off invasions or engaged in wars with France, China, Japan, Cambodia and the US (Narkunas, p. 149). In 1979 Vietnam was fighting 1 million Chinese troops. The battle depleted Vietnamese economic resources and left it as one of the poorest countries in the world. It is inevitable that the theme of patriotism manifests itself in the Vietnamese film industry. The themes of betrayal and loyalty always almost always find its place in the screenplay of successful Vietnamese movies. The Rebel is based on the struggles of fighting the French occupation in Vietnam.
The protagonists of the movie converse with his father about loyalty to the country.