journey of a French filmmaker to discover Vietnamese origins | culture/arts

French filmmaker François Bibonne (R) on a filmmaking trip ‘Once upon a time there was a bridge in Vietnam’

Bibonne spent her childhood filled with unforgettable stories from Vietnam told by her grandmother, Thérèse Nguyen Thi Koan. He first came to Vietnam in 2018 after his grandmother died.

The French director was completely mesmerized by Vietnam, from Hanoi to HCMC, and the countryside and realized a connection with traditional Vietnamese music after having many exchanges with local artists.

He spent 15 months traveling the country to explore the landscapes, culture and people of Vietnam and to discover the theaters and stages of the provinces and cities which should be presented in his next projects, focusing on natural scenes, traditional costumes and music.

The French filmmaker was impressed by a violin lesson at a pagoda in the village of Then in Bac Giang province, the preservation of the traditional Quan Ho chant of Bac Ninh by local people, and the story of an old brass trumpet which had been transported to the north. Nam Dinh province by the French since the 19th century.

Therefore, his film depicts the traditional music of Vietnam which is considered as a cultural bridge between Vietnam and France.

In February, “Once upon a bridge in Vietnam” won Best Documentary Short at the Los Angeles Film Awards in the United States.

François Bibonne hopes that the documentary film will be presented to the Vietnamese public as soon as possible. The film project is also calling on people to contribute to a fundraising campaign to provide a wider platform to show the documentary film to the world. In addition, ten percent of the total amount will be used to support the bamboo planting program in the northern province of Yen Bai, where the director shot part of the documentary.

He said the documentary kickstarted his long-term project on Vietnamese classical music. He will return to Vietnam in August to shoot another music film in Central Highlands, Hue City, HCMC and Con Dao Island in the native language of the Bana ethnic group, study the space of gong culture in the Highlands of Vietnam and the state of Vietnamese electronic and traditional music.

By Tieu Tan – Translated by Kim Khanh


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