Friday 10 July 2009

Festival de Paris

For the past two months, I have been saying my mantras before going to bed. Take the time to chase away negative thoughts, invite them out and replace by positive ones. I’m amazed at all the energy we put to keep the pain body. Why not reverse the process?
So I say out loud happy things I visualize for myself. I call for them. There is no ‘if’ and ‘would like to’, not even ‘want to’. I may no know how or when these good things will come, but I bring in the confidence that they will.
And it works.

Just when I was in the middle of the Làng Tôi frenzy, I received an e-mail from a dancer friend in Saigon. He had given my contact to a girl who is about to supervise a big project in Vietnam. They needed a composer and he had been singing high praises about my work. Linh, a young woman who was born in France but settled in Vietnam a few years ago to work there wrote to me and explained what the project was about: a theatre was to open next year in Hôi An, and they commissioned her to put on a one hour long show that would involve dance music and circus. Wasn’t it a coincidence? My friend Loc, who choreographed Lâng Tôi was the first choice but he had to decline due to a huge amount of work, including touring Lâng Tôi… A shame, for I would have loved to work with him.
Linh and I met one sunny afternoon. We agreed on most of everything. Now remains the how’s and when’s. I have to make an estimate of the total cost as far as the music is concerned.
They need the music before the end of September. Auditions and rehearsals shall be held in November. That’s a perfect timing for me. That also means that I will have to go to Vietnam very soon in order to compose and record the music.
Vietnam in August? When it’s scorching hot and humid? I’m so excited.
I enjoy being in Paris but the energy here drags me down.


A film festival is currently being held in Paris. I got the pass and went to the cinema nearly every day. Not always masterpieces I have seen. Among the good surprises: $E11.0U7! (Sell Out), a bittersweet musical comedy by first time director Malaysian Yeo Joon Han. He was selling the soundtrack of film after the screening so I took the opportunity to exchange a few lines and get his contact as I was buying a copy of the soundtrack. I was surprised to learn that he was formerly a lawyer before turning to cinema. It was only when he was studying law in London that he was introduced to different works than the usual American blockbusters and realized his love for this art.
I wrote to him and was surprised to receive a reply a day later. I don’t know where all this is going to lead to, but I have this little wish that we may collaborate on a film project together.
Many other Asian films were presented during this festival: Antique a fast moving Korean gay comedy based on the manga by Fumi Yoshinaga populated by handsome actors. Antique won’t change the face of cinema, but it’s this kind of undemanding feel good film that cheers you up on a rainy day.
The others I saw were more on a wacky side: Quickie Express, Better than Sex, Temptation Island and The Sperm – the latter being a hilarious blending of rock, sex comedy, nonsensical slapstick and science- fiction.

After I stormed out of my parents’ place two days ago in state of sheer distraught, I ended up in a movie theatre to watch the most peculiar film: Honor de Cavallería, a Spanish film by Albert Serra. I had no idea what I was about to see. I didn’t care; I needed a change of mind. 
A ‘road movie’ involving Don Quichotte and his companion Sancho, this was a two hour long filmic stream of consciousness, as we watch them wander aimlessly, converse with one another rather sparingly in the middle of sumptuous landscape. All narrative was discarded. The actors weren’t even convincing. They just looked like actors in costumes rehearsing a play in and arid wilderness. I was in a state of sleepiness most of the time, maybe out of shock after my familial drama and felt like I was on a high. The slowness and apparent lack of any narrative added to that feeling. Here and there, a few lines would pop out of this fogginess: ‘We are knights. And we, knights have to try our best and never give up’ says Don Quichotte at some point. I suddenly woke up from my state of semi consciousness.
‘That’s true’ I thought. ‘In spite of all the tough times, the dramas and differences with people, I have to do my best and never give up.’
Isn’t it funny how one has to be at one particular place to hear that one particular line…

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