Hanoi’s heart and soul documented by former French envoy

14:43 | 06/11/2017 Culture & Art

(VEN) - One year after his term in Vietnam ended, former French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean Noel Poirier released a documentary film entitled “Mon Hanoi” (My Hanoi). The 52-minute film, directed and filmed by the former ambassador, is a journey through many corners of Hanoi, with insights into the capital’s culture, food, architecture, traffic and people.  

hanois heart and soul documented by former french envoy
Former French Ambassador to Vietnam, Jean Noel Poirier

Hanoi in the eyes of the former ambassador is rustic and simple. The authentic, graceful Hanoians he met are the “soul” of the city. His camera zooms in on ordinary things, such as a good banh xeo (rice pancake folded in half and filled with shrimp, meat and soybean sprouts) shop near the French Embassy, a banh cuon (steamed rolled rice pancake) tent in Thanh Cong Market, and of course pho bo (noodles served with beef).

In the eyes of Jean Noel Poirier, Hanoi is both old and modern, busy and creative, a place where every street is a live play, with cooking smells emanating from the kitchens and courtyards tease passers-by.

Jean-Noel Poirier said every ambassador who ends his term usually gives a gift to the community in which he or she lived and worked, and he chose a documentary to express his love and thoughts about the people in the capital, and highlight forgotten and unknown places.

The former ambassador said Hanoi reminds him of the Paris of his childhood. While Paris has changed, becoming a world leading tourist center and magnet for luxury goods, museums, festivals and outdoor concerts, Hanoi keeps growing and maintaining its soul and identity. The documentary presents Hanoi as a beautiful and charming capital, he said.

Nguyen Ha Nam, head of the Vietnam Television’s editorial board, said “Mon Hanoi” is not a polished, professional film but a subtle reflection of the filmmaker’s love for Vietnam. Surely, only people who really love Hanoi can provide such intense images and scenes like those in “Mon Hanoi”, he added.

hanois heart and soul documented by former french envoy

Jean-Noel Poirier said his older brother, Henri Louis Marcel Poirier, helped him make the documentary. e brothers filmed Hanoi in June and December to reflect the city in both summer and wintertime. Jean Noel Poirier himself, who has studied Vietnamese since he was 20, reads the voice-over in Vietnamese.

The film will be broadcast on all channels of Vietnam Television in the coming year.

Thanh Tam