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16/04/2021 - 06:19

Portraying Trinh Cong Son in “Trinh and I”

The movie "Trinh and I" about the life of Trinh Cong Son has just finished its filming after nearly 5 months of shooting. This is a wholehearted film project of the director Phan Gia Nhat Linh to commemorate and pay tribute to the deceased musician Trinh Cong Son.

Director Phan Gia Nhat Linh. Photo supplied by the dỉrector

Mr. Director, how did the idea of the film come up?

When Galaxy invited me to make a musical using Trinh's music just like Mamma Mia with ABBA's music, I thought nothing can compare with the love story of Trinh Cong Son. He had a lively youth that experienced many ups and downs and historical upheavals of the country.

I also read an article about the failed marriage of Trinh Cong Son and a Japanese student living in France studying his music. It is a strange story which few people know.

As I learned more about his life and music, I realized the romanticism of his emotional life. The movie "Trinh and I” is about Trinh Cong Son’s romanticism, about a talented young man and his unfinished love affairs.

Can you tell us something about the content as well as the highlights of the movie?

The movie begins with the fateful meeting between a Japanese girl and Trinh in the magnificent city of Paris. The girl then came to Vietnam to learn about the love songs and the lovers of the talented musician just only to find the love that blossomed in her heart.

The movie will take the audience back to the 70s-90s during which the immortal songs of Trinh Cong Son were born while the musician was immersing himself in the world of beauty, love and music.

A scene from the movie “Trinh and I”. Photo provided by the film crew

It took us two years to read books, research and have meetings with Trinh Cong Son’s family and friends to seek materials for the script. However, this is not a documentary film, but a fiction movie to attract the audience. The movie with beautiful, vivid, emotional scenes about the life of Trinh Cong Son spanning three decades from 1960-1990 will be a surprise waiting for the audience to enjoy.

Trinh Cong Son was known as a talented artist. That was also a challenge to find an actor who looked like the musician in both appearance and personality.

First of all, we started to look across the country for an actor to play Trinh Cong Son as a teenager in the end of 2019. We went to Hue trying to look for people who had never acted in any movie. There was the time when I got stuck and thought I couldn't find the actor I wanted.

Honestly, I had never known Avin Lu before he entered the casting room. Avin Lu is lucky because when I googled the name of Avin Lu, I saw a young and very Korean man. Certainly I would not pick him. However, when casting, Avin Lu became another man. He possessed the innocent shyness with a bit of romanticism of an artist. He reminded us of the actor Le Cong Tuan Anh, who had played Trinh Cong Son in the movie "Do You still Remember or Forget?” 

A scene in “Trinh and I”. Photo provided by the film crew

It was even more difficult to find an actor to play middle-aged Trinh Cong Son because the role requires good acting and that the actor must speak Hue accent, know how to play musical instruments and sing. It is not easy to find a man who meets all those requirements. The Excellent Actor Tran Luc is not only is a professional actor but also has the mind of an artist to give the role of the musician Trinh Cong Son a life.

In “Trinh and I”, Trinh Cong Son’s “muses" were more symbolic than real. To the public, Diem is a mysterious poetic image from the song "Diem of the Old Days” by Trinh Cong Son.

Therefore, I was looking for an actress with mysterious beauty which could make people get shocked. Lan Thy, a young actress who was both gentle and rebellious inside made a very strong impression on me.

As for the role of Dao Anh, our biggest challenge was to find an actress who could play the role of an innocent girl at the age of 14 until she became a 21-year-old girl with a gentle beauty, not very prominent, but she could make people fall in love with her. Hoang Ha's acting conquered me. I believe it was Dao Anh of "Trinh and I.”

Which locations in Hue are present in the movie?

The movie was shot at Trinh’s Apt., on Nguyen Truong To Str., at Phu Cam Bridge, Phu Cam Cathedral, Perfume River, in the Citadel, at Dr. Thai Kim Lan’s house, Hue Industrial College, College of Education, Hue University and Truong Tien Bridge. Besides Hue, it was also shot in Da Lat, Bao Loc, Blao and Ho Chi Minh City.

There must be many difficulties, Mr. Director?

The film crew of more than 100 people worked for months in Hue, Da Lat, Ta Nang, Dong Nai, Ho Chi Minh City while the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic storms and floods were raging, and during the Tet holidays. It can be said that there had never been a movie in Vietnam that met with so many difficulties during the shooting.

The movie was shot in November 2020 in Hue right after the historic flood in October and in the course of the storm number 13. Those were extremely hard days for the crew when we had to set Hue scenes in 1960s in extremely harsh weather. Thanks to the assistance of the authorities, Trinh Cong Son’s family, especially the love from the people, we were able to finish the shooting here at many special locations such as Trinh’s Apt., Phu Cam Bridge, Truong Tien Bridge, etc. 

Do you have faith that the movie will be a success and welcomed by the audience?

Of course yes. I believe so.

Thank you, Mr. Director.

By Minh Hien

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