30th April 2020
This is my most recent film, ảo tưởng, which translates as ‘dreams’ but with a sense of disillusion.
Filming took a number of years, as I had to juggle the availability of my lead actress, not to mention trying to find the time and energy myself after working full-time at various schools and language centres.
Another big challenge was getting around; I don’t have a motorbike and Sai Gon has no subway system. I’ve not even mentioned the heat; I’m used to filming in north Europe, not the tropics.
Additionally, I had a series of camera problems. I intended to use my pocket Samsung camera W200. The first shots were ‘in the can’ ( the university scene) only for me to accidentally delete them. Soon after the camera, which had filmed in London and came with me to Thailand, Cambodia & Viet Nam, died.
Next I borrowed a Samsung Galaxy 5 phone, only to discover it has no ‘steadycam’, so when I played the recordings back, I was shocked at how shaky there were.
After that, I had a great LG phone, with manual options for focus, light, filters etc … but that phone also died. I next used my iPhone 5 but, as related in an earlier blog, that was caught in the monsoon of Sai Gon’s rainy season. I got the dreaded red screen, and that phone died.
Finally, I was able to finish the film on my new iPhone 6S.
I could have shot some more cutaway shots (scenes of the city, without any of the actors) but i thought it was time to finish the film.
In Vietnam, where I’m currently based, I have an Apple Mac Book (though it’s approaching the end of days, I fear), but in London I have a Samsung laptop using Windows, and has Movie Maker. During a recent trip, I cut the film in two days (with a lot of very un-British shouting cursing and cussing; I have NO computer skills or patience to deal with the fact that I have no computer skills).
Finally, I posted it to YouTube … and now it is available for everyone.
I’m not going to explain the film here, I’d much prefer viewer to watch it and make their own decisions or explanations, although I’d be happy to discuss any points people may wish to raise.
Heartfelt thanks to: Ms Quynh, Ms Mi, Ms Hoang, Ms Phuong & Ms Hang and the wonderful music of Mr Richard Lewis and the experimental aural soundscape of Herr Harald Ansorge and the encouragement of Ms Lorna ‘Ace’ Le Bredonchel & Mr Martin O’Shea