Vietnam Time

10/4/2017 7:54:39 PM

Hanoi documentary by Former French Ambassador to be screened this weekend

(VNF) - The Vietnam Television will broadcast the documentary Mon Hanoi (My Hanoi), directed and filmed by former French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean Noel Poirier, on VTV1 channel at 8:40 pm on October 8th.

The 52-minute film is a journey through many corners of Hanoi, with interesting insights into the capital’s culture, food, architecture, traffic and people discovered by the diplomat.

In the trailer of the documentary, Hanoi looks both familiar and novel with its distinctive French architectural works, such as Long Bien Bridge and the Opera House. With the simple, honest viewing angles and unfamiliar colors, the documentary also captures the scenes of the labour class, such as a barber, motorbike driver, as well as a woman wearing conical hat on a bicycle transporting many brooms made from chicken feather and grass. There are also scenes of Hanoi’s Pho in the documentary.

Former French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean Noel Poirier.

“Pho is a very important part in the life of Hanoians. There is a short part in the documentary that compares the French to the Vietnamese eating habits and depicts the two different ways of thinking about cuisine”, he said.

The voice-over in Vietnamese of the documentary was performed by Jean Noel Poirier himself, who has learned the language since he was 20.

The screening of Mon Hanoi is one of activities to mark the capital’s Liberation Day (October 10th). The film has received the creator’s permission to be broadcast on all channels of the Vietnam Television during one year.

Jean Noel Poirier lived in Vietnam for ten years, during which he worked for one term as a Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City and another as the French ambassador in Hanoi (2012 - 2016).

Reflecting on the time when he first started taking up the new position, Poirer narrated his story in Vietnamese: “When I first started taking up the ambassador position in August 2012, I instantly had a familiar feeling with this place, as if I had been living here before. Maybe it’s because in Hanoi, the reminiscence of French architecture still remain, especially in the old Quarter. Actually the first time I came here was for a diplomatic meeting with former Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach in 1989. The city gave me a waim feeling, but I was bored as there was almost no nightlife at that time. But by the time I came back, the city had become very dynamic and vibrant. Young people looked very cheerful and they always smiled with positive thoughts”.

"Hanoians had a very unique lifestyle, as if every moment of life happens on the streets: they live, eat food, raise children and even do their business on the pavement. Let the tourists walk around the city and observe lives on the pavements, they will know a lot about the characteristics, customs and habits of Vietnamese people ", the former ambassador shared.

The special thing about Hanoi is that it could maintain the historical architectural style, and unique architectural style. Apart from the combination between French and Vietnamese architecture, there is also a mixture of countryside and urban aspects.

Giving his special attention to old apartment complexes, Poirer said: “I think if those Russian architects ever come back to these complexes, they will feel like this was Mars because the city has changed a lot from their initial designs.”

To him, the “tiger cage” (steel casing that residents make to extend their living space) in Thanh Cong and Giang Vo apartment complexes near Nui Truc is an evidence of the accommodating lifestyle of Hanoians. Even though he understands that these condominiums will gradually disappear from future urban planning, he still regards the preservation of the old complexes is valuable for the history of Hanoi.

“Many ambassadors, at the end of their terms, chose to write memor. However, I was too lazy, so I decided to make a documentary instead”, Poirier humorously shared about the documentary that he co-produced with his brother, the movie producer Henri Louis Poirier.

A scene in the film.

According to the former ambassador Poirier, the documentary was not meant for foreigners wishing to discover Hanoi. First of all, the purpose of the documentary was to introduce to Hanoians the images of their city as seen from his point of view.

“I have tried to capture the soul of Hanoi. Maybe I have caught sight of some hidden beauties of the city, which are ignored and taken for granted by Hanoians themselves…and so the documentary is my gift to Hanoi”, he said.

In May 2017, the diplomat was awarded the Vietnamese Government’s Friendship Order for his contributions to Vietnam – France strategic partnership./.

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