Culture Culture

17/07/2022 - 07:07

Watching the movie “Em và Trịnh”

As a routine, my friends and I always watch all movies shot in Hue. “We want to see what Hue is like in movies.” I often hear people say so before a movie shot in Hue is shown.

A scene in “Em và Trịnh”

The movie "Em và Trịnh" was finally shown after some delays. But this time it was not only to see what Hue was like in the movie but also to know how well the actors played Trinh Cong Son and to see how they spoke with Hue accent. Of course there was much more to wait for and to see, but perhaps they were the two main points.

Inspired by the life and music career of a person who was so well known, so close and dear to Hue people like Trinh Cong Son, the movie was quite a challenge for the director and actors. Setting was a difficulty because the movie was set back to 50-60 years ago with lots of changes. 

Over-120-minute-long movie was indeed full of emotion. Trinh Cong Son’s most important milestones were fully mentioned by either events or music, which proved that the scriptwriter and the director had learnt everything related to Trinh Cong Son including his family, friends, music, love, ideal, and environment.

The fact that his family including his younger sisters, friends and people of his time are still alive is an advantage for the moviemakers. But the difficulty was how to select the most significant milestones of his life among hundreds of events and stories. 

The movie poster

Before the film was shown, audiences had grasped lots of information about the actors and actresses who played Trinh Cong Son, Bich Diem, Dao Anh, Khanh Ly, Thanh Thuy and behind-the-scenes. The movie has been shown for nearly a week. The only complaint is the wrong Hue accent of the main character.

Hue accent has always been a challenge for filmmakers. Hue people are often known to be hard to please. In reality they are not that strict. If one has tried a lot but failed, then they will accept it. 

Alive, Trinh Cong Son often said “Let it be.” In the movie the actor who played Trinh Cong Son replaced words with acute tone with words with drop tone. People elsewhere often think it is Hue accent, in fact Hue people never talk like that.

In my business trips to other cities, hearing me talk, my colleagues often said “Hue accent sounds so lovely, but why it is so hard to understand in movies.” We smiled feeling happy inside. 

Just like other movies which were shot in Hue, I felt people’s excitement when they recognized certain familiar places while watching “Em và Trịnh.” There were lines of camphor trees, the Phu Cam cathedral, the “flying flamboyant” street, the Thien Mu pagoda, etc. Hue scenery in films was so ancient, dreamy and poetic. Hue is indeed an excellent studio for movies of different genres.

Though Trinh Cong Son’s native village is Minh Huong, Hue, he was born in Buon Me Thuot. During his life, Trinh Cong Son lived in different places such as Hue, Saigon, Quy Nhon, B’lao, etc. He attended the teachers’ college in Quy Nhon then taught in B’lao (Lam Dong Province) and finally settled in Saigon.

Trinh Cong Son mentioned his close relationship with Hue in his books as well as his music. As for me, I was really touched to see the scene in which he worked as a teacher at the Bao An primary school in B'lao in August 1964. That far-away deserted place marked his three “blessings” of his life. That was the place where he composed many important songs of his career such as Chieu mot minh qua phoVet lan tramLoi buon thanhGia tai cua meDan bo vao thanh phoNguoi gia em beNguoi con gai Viet Nam da vang, etc., he met Khanh Ly, and he wrote 108 letters to Ngo Vu Dao Anh.

B'lao was indeed a significant place to Trinh Cong Son. I have never been to B’lao, so I felt so excited and satisfied to see it on the screen so alive with forests, highland pupils and highland people. 

The scenes in B’lao made audiences understand Trinh Cong Son as a romantic musician and the teacher-student friendship between Khanh Ly and Trinh Cong Son. Through his love letters to Dao Anh, one could decode his success and understood that the artist must resort to his own personal life to tell stories.

The 120-minute-long movie about the life and music of a talented man like Trinh Cong Son certainly could not please all audiences, especially the elderly who had loved Trinh Cong Son and his music since their childhood. It is needed to say again that Hue people are hard to please just because they love the musician so much. It was hard for the actors who played such a clever, talented, romantic and good-hearted musician by nature. 

The movie was good in that the film producer and the director had created successfully the right setting and atmosphere and chosen the right actors and actresses, who had worked with responsibility, and that the scriptwriter had refined each line of the script. All their effort was appreciated. 

Story: Xuan An. Photos: Documentary