Vietnam Through Con Sáo’s Eyes: Episode 1 – Mưa Rừng

Available in : Vietnamese

 

March 13. 2021

 

The perfect place to begin the new series, Vietnam Through Con Sáo’s Eyes, is my new music video Mưa Rừng (Pronounced Moo-uh Roong and meaning Forest Rain).

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have many questions upon watching it, for example, why is a foreigner singing an old Vietnamese song? Why this particular song? Why is he dressed the way he is? Who is the woman, and why is she moving the way she is? Is this all just some mad idea of a lunatic, or is there more? I can assure you there is more, and we will unwrap many layers and multiple stories to get to where we are with Mưa Rừng. These layers will unfold in the weeks and months to come as we view Vietnam Through Con Sáo’s Eyes.

 

First the story of Mưa Rừng. It was written 60 years ago as an opera. It is a romantic psychological thriller inspired by the authors being trapped overnight in the forest during a torrential rainstorm. Despite the savage rain, they heard voices of invisible “forest people” throughout the night. It gets a lot creepier from there – concluding with the real-life murder of the woman for whom the song was written, Thanh Nga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The play was a massive hit on stage and sold out nigh-after-night. It was also made into a film, and numerous singers have performed it since. Many Vietnamese people can hum a few bars. But the actual intensity of the story and its history is mostly lost. This is most notable for its relevance in the life and death of Thanh Nga.

 

Mưa Rừng is a Rhumba and would have been danced to. One can only imagine what that must have been like in a steamy Saigon nightclub decade ago. The orchestra playing, the singer singing, the dancers dancing “quick-quick-slow.” The way they moved leaves little to the imagination of how those nights ended.

 

I tried to capture the eeriness of the voices from the unseen forest people in the middle of the night.  I tried to capture the etherealness of both my character and hers as we never touch. I looked past her and not at her. At the end of one take, I saw everyone looking so serious. I “jump-scared” them with a smile. I’m glad the editor kept that.

 

To me, this is the best version, though, and every time I hear it, I close my eyes and imagine those steamy Saigon nights from decades long ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Available in : Vietnamese

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