Local jazzmen to jam over classic movies

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Classic films from Vietnam and abroad will get new soundtracks this August when a young Vietnamese jam band riffs off their main themes during a screening this month.

At Hanoi's French cultural center at the end of the month, an audience will gather to watch excerpts from some of their favorite local and foreign films, only this time the soundtrack will be provided by young artist Nguyen Bao Long's improvisational jazz band.

The night of film and music, entitled "Infinity," includes three classic Vietnamese films, Den Hen Lai Len and Em Be Ha Noi (1974), and Lang Vu Dai ngay ay (1982). The two latter have won major awards.

Em Be Ha Noi won the 1975 Golden Lotus, the highest honor a film can win in Vietnam. It tells the story of a 12-year-old girl looking for her family after the massive American bombings of Hanoi.

Lang Vu Dai ngay ay is adapted from three short stories by famous realism writer Nam Cao. It depicts the conflicts and desperation of rural life in Vietnam during the 1940s, when Japanese occupiers engineered a famine that starved two million people to death in order to feed their own marauding army. The film's male lead, Bui Cuong, won best actor at the Vietnam Film Festival in 1983. The film was part of a trilogy that helped director Pham Van Khoa win the State Award, a prestigious Vietnamese recognition for the arts and sciences in 2007.

Scenes from "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," "Casablanca," "Beauty and the Beast," and "The Godfather" will also be screened.

Long and other artists will play their music alongside the screen.

He said the project was inspired by the making of silent films in the 1930s.

Most of the music will be instrumental but singer Ha Linh will also provide vocals for a few songs.

Long received good reviews for his performance of work by late Argentine tango composer Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla in Hanoi last year.

The "Infinity" band will include piano, bass, drum, violin, piano, guitar, and visual effects by director Nguyen Hong Quan.

It will be performed on the night of August 29 at the French Institute in Hanoi, L'Espace, at 24 Trang Tien Street. Tickets cost VND120,000 (US$5.80) and are available at the venue. They are half price for the center's members and students.

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