Tuesday 30 June 2020


Yesterday was the birthday of Huy, the talented young director of Ròm.

When two years ago, Trần Anh Hùng wrote to me to introduce me to this film project and recommend me as a composer, little did I know that I would also befriend a wonderful person, a passionate and open minded young man filled with crazy ideas, someone I truly enjoy spending time with. I remember the first time we met: it was in Paris. I took him to Potemkine, one of my favourite places. Potemkine publishes DVD and blu-rays of restored classics or modern films, some of which they also finance. Their shop offers a great selection of DVD and film soundtrack (how much money did I spend there), as well as serve a great coffee (and cakes!). Huy just loved it. We spent long hours there, and I played him all the music I had just composed for his film. It was a moment I shall always remember. His eyes lighting up as he was listening to each piece, then telling he knew exactly how to use the music. 
That was the beginning of a wonderful adventure. We would often meet whenever I come to Saigon, we shared our moments of joy, distress, doubt or excitement. What about the adventure in Busan when the film was selected for the festival... 
To collaborate on a great project is already wonderful, but to genuinely enjoy the company of the people you're working with is absolutely priceless! I'm so looking forward to his next film, Tick!

Monday 29 June 2020

Naked dream (again)

This time I was in a police lodge near a wood, the connection to real life being that I was in quarantine. But I kept popping myself up outside unwillingly - maybe not that unwillingly, and had to find a way to sneak inside again without the guards noticing, until I realised I was simply naked. That often happens in my dream. Nakedness being that I am actually naked, or holding something odd or embarrassing that wouldn't want people to see... (usually something connected to my childhood). 
I tried in vain to find some clothes so to go unnoticed. Then... the little Indian boy laughed when he saw me.  According to his mother he had never seen a grown up man in his life. Shall I add, she said that he had never seen such a fine looking grown man such as I.... One odd thing adding up to another...
That's when I decided to have a shower.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Friends and family

The universe has made me the gift of truly wonderful friends, and among them are Dennis and François who not only have opened their house to me for the past (almost five) months, but with whom I discovered the boundless infinity of friendship. Two months of strict lockdown would have been lethal to any relationship, I admit that the first weeks were difficult for me, and challenging for them. It was the first time we would spend so much time in the same place together. I was exhausted from all these years of continuous hard work and also emotional pressure regarding my parents, and was looking forward to some time alone. Free time... However, this lockdown turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. Ar first we did out best considering the situation. I felt guilt and unease to impose myself, though involuntarily. After a couple of weeks of guarded friendliness, the bubble bursted and we began to truly enjoy each other's company. More laugh and relaxed time. I also realised how much they genuinely cared about me, and I guess they also saw that I wasn't too bad a person to be confined with! A joyous and joyful blessing it was. 

Friday 26 June 2020

Thursday 25 June 2020


Một buổi chiều với cha mẹ vui vẻ tràn ngập ánh sáng.

Last visit to my parents before I fly back to Taipei. The contrast between the sadness of our separation and the lightness of being that afternoon was overwhelming.

Sunday 21 June 2020

Một triệu tia sáng cho cha tôi.
Ảnh mình chụp vào năm ngoái, tại quê hương của ông ở Huế.

A million beams of light for my father. 
Photo taken last year, in his ancestral home in Huế.

Saturday 20 June 2020

"Each time my foot hits the sofa, the sound the metallic structure makes is like a bell with a very long resonance. I have to put my hand on it to stop it!" François said to me a few weeks ago. 
"Then I have to record it! One never knows what can come out of it in my music!"
"The sofa as musician!" we exclaimed.

And yes, for the Weinert documentary project, one of my new musicians is... the sofa! Recording it was a pain for the knuckles, but totally worth it.
Once edited and assembled together other the voices and other instruments, it sounded oddly spectacular!
Merci François! 


Thursday 18 June 2020

Ròm in Vietnam

The new poster for the release of Ròm in Vietnam!! So happy!!!

Cuối cùng Ròm cũng có chiếc poster chính thức mọi người ơi!
Giới thiệu với mọi người, đây là khu chung cư mà Ròm sống. Người dân ở đây nghèo, khổ nhưng họ xem nhau như gia đình, vui sướng hoạn nạn gì cũng có nhau. Với Ròm thì hên xui: có ngày được coi như thần hộ mạng, có ngày thì bị đuổi đánh như đuổi tà... 
Cũng trong lô chung cư cũ nhàu này, những câu chuyện về phận đời xô nghiêng, về ước mơ đổi đời và cả về tình người sẽ được kể...

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Rừng - into the woods

Into the woods with Kevin for this second short film of mine, Rừng. I was on the verge to cancell it all, our shooting session in the forest, as I didn't have any proper camera, and felt a bit restless with what had been happening in recent time. Kevin sounded slightly disappointed on the phone, although the said he understood. But if not now, then when?
And I always enjoy seeing Kevin - perhaps too much he he. He was glad when I said I would come anyway and that we would just go with the flow.
The light was beautiful, with its game of sunshine and clouds. We forgot we were near Paris...
That time in the forest was just perfect. I will find something to do with what I shot. Kevin was very happy.
That boy is so kind and full of passion, although he himself says he isn't exactly sure passion for what...

Sunday 14 June 2020

Petites turpitudes d'un voyageur distrait

The original situation was: to have taken the flight in March, but then, we what know happened and I had to stay in Paris for a few more months. (all this after I extended my stay when a friend invited me to come with him to see Madonna's Madame X concert, which got evnetually cancelled due to the pandemic...)

After the lockdown was lifted and I saw the possibility thanks to Jay of flying back with a working permit which was to help issue a visa to Taiwan, the situation was simple: just book the next available flight once my visa is validated! But... flights are full (so they say at the agency). I found myself on the wailist and was 'offered' to pay nearly 400 euros to have a confirmed seat. Nah...

So the next (less simple) situation was to show up at the airport on that given day and see what happens.

But... my visa cannot be issued if I do not produce a flight ticket showing that I will leave Taiwan afterwards. However I still had a cancelled flight from Taipei to Saigon that could be rescheduled. Hope hope hope...

That would be too easy, wouldn't it? A mischievious elf set up that my wallet got stolen at the bus station a few days ago. Inside were useful things like credit card and other personal documents... The bank stated that I had to wait for a new card to be issued and sent to me, that it usually would take a couple of weeks, and that not much could be done until then. So in the illusory hope that I got the credit card in time, I can book a new flight from Taiwan to Vietnam so that my visa for Taiwan gets validated in time for this Saturday, for a fight on June 20th, then everything will/would/could be perfect!

Well... if ever there is a seat, as that agency pointed out again, otherwise... it's the big blue unknown. But not the unknown I know. Another kind of unknown...

Why make things simple when there's so much joy in complication?!?

Oh, and apparently, the man who stole my wallet immediately ran to the nearest five star hotel to have a nice drink, then to another fancy place where he had another drink. Fortunately, there was a payment limit after which a magical secret four-digit number is required... Apparently, there has been an Amazon purchase which was attempted a couple of hours later....

Oh yes, onec back in Taipei I will have to go through two weeks of quarantine....


Tuesday 9 June 2020


First time in ages when I stayed home (well, at Bévinda's flat) the whole day to make music: composing for this new documentary project by the Weinert brother, playing the piano or rehearsing with my soprano friend Hanna for her upcoming audition. I will need more of those moments. Unlikely, though...
And time is getting tighter as the day of my return is near.

Friday 5 June 2020

I received a message from Naomi Kawase telling me that the film True Mothers (Asa ga kuru) was expected to receive the Cannes 2020 Label alongside Wes Anderson and Thomas Vinterberg. True Mothers was supposed to have its world premiere at the Cannes Festival then open in Japan this month. 
Not sure what's going to happen now. Not sure how my music has been used in that film... Not sure I want to know... 
Anyway, between this and Ròm which finally passed the censorship in Vietnam and resume its life,  it's good news for the season.

Wednesday 3 June 2020


RỪNG: Second recording session of my mother talking and 'remembering'.
I still don't know how I will structure all that. Her actual memories is blended with 'facts' she would make up as she talked. Her childhood, mostly. Her father, her mother's work, schooltime. The French solderis. They often came back in her stories. I can't help but wonder if anything happened to her with those French soldiers... 
Talk. Her eyes looking at some distant scene.
She sometime wouldn't even realise I was there.

I try to use my own impressions as I'm listening to her. Whether it is true doesn't matter. The connection, the way to those memories are more interesting. 
It's slowly coming, as her memory is slowly waning.

Tuesday 2 June 2020

As I wrote the other day, after a very long wait, the film has eventually passed the censorship in Vietnam, although it hasn't got out of the process totally unscathed.
I have been asked to come up with some additional music for a new scene that features the secondary but important character of Bà Ba, an adorable old lady who gambles her last money even though she has no illusion about the outcome. The music is supposed to come from an old favourite record that she plays one last time as she tidies her flat, Huy told me. 
So it's been with great joy that I resumed work with Franco Maigue. Since we had very little time, Huy said that it could be a piece I had already written for another project. Then I suddenly remembered a song, I wrote for the musical play 阿姨 (Auntie), some twelve years ago in Taipei. ChingYao had recorded his vocals, but a piano and cello version had also been done at the studio and luckily, I happened to have the files in my hard disk! Franco immediately said yes and his beautiful and sensitive playing did wonders for the melodic line. It felt strange to hear a piece I had not listened to for nealy ten years! 
Just minutes after I sent the track to Huy, he replied to say that he loved the music. Mission accomplished!

Again, making music is really the only thing that makes sense to me now in this wacky world.

Monday 1 June 2020

Well, what?

Return to Taiwan... Nothings seems to be sure. The travel agency says I'm on the wait list, but it isn't even certain that I will even get a seat... They hinted that I could put an end to all the uncertainties by paying an extra fee of 400 euros... Yes, of course... Nice try...

Expect the unexpected but be prepared that it might be something else...