Gray Paris street.
In the apartment there are gifts from old friends in Vietnam: reminders of a different history.
But the time is now: 1998: l'economie de marche is what we have.
A construction site on the West Lake in Hanoi.
Workers at the gate: power is with the security guard who decides who will work and who will not.
This lake in the center of Hanoi is being walled in by huge modern hotels.
This village disappears.
An old couple has lived here all their lives. They refuse to move into more comfortable quarters. Why bother changing with the times?
No really, it is a real question: why bother?
Some people still use the lake in old ways, but from the windows of the high-rise apartments they are invisible.
What you have is a western style apartment with a quaint view.
Everybody knows: it's just a matter of money now. Who's rich and who's poor, who can and who can't.
That's how it is: c'est comme ca….
In the bar with fancy drinks the movie director pays his crew.
Sure, making movies under these conditions puts these conditions into the center of the movie itself.
Rich & poor: what other themes are there?
"SayKomSa": that is, C'est Comme Ca.
Like me saying, "that's how it is, it's like that, you can't fight city hall."
Realism? Cynicism? Bitter and resigned?
Maybe. More than before anyway.
But with style. Sweet and dark, as velvet dark and worldly-wise as Billy Holiday's drunk-sweet voice singing, "God Bless The Child That's Got Its Own."
God bless that child who doesn't have to depend on anybody's kindness or generosity.
God bless that child not trapped under the hammer of the New World Order.
God bless the child not caught in the trap, in the flash and illusion and endless trying not to drown of this free-market economy world. God bless that rich child who doesn't know anything else but doing what they want, and the trance of their own power.
Vietnam. September 1997.
Times have changed.
Times have changed, and so everything is totally familiar again.
So familiar, the way it's always been,"same old rat race, life in the same old cage."