Meritorious artist Tran Cam: fostering inspiration from a great personality

Friday, 2015-09-04 16:55:38
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Director, Meritorious artist Tran Cam (left) talks with Raymond Aubrac.
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NDO – Meritorious artist Tran Cam is well-known as the director of various documentary films that were inspired by Ho Chi Minh and his interactions with friends around the world.

Nhan Dan newspaper reporter Huyen Nga held a talk with Meritorious Artist Tran Cam about his memories during his career of making documentary films on President Ho Chi Minh.

From the love for Uncle Ho

Q: I still remember when I saw the film ‘Nguoi ban tham lang cua Bac’ (Uncle Ho’s Silent Friend) for the first time and I have always wondered when you and Raymond Aubrac, who was also a close friend of Vietnam during the two resistance wars, first met?

A: We met when the film crew under the Reportage and Documentary Film Centre under Vietnam Television arrived Paris, France in May, 2007 to make a documentary film on the time Uncle Ho worked and lived in France for a broadcast on the occasion of 117th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s birthday.

We completed the pre-production filming for the 30-minute episode entitled 'Ho Chi Minh voi ban be Phap' (Ho Chi Minh with French friends) over three days.

After that, understanding that R.Aubrac was considered one of the most important friends of Uncle Ho, we requested him for two more talks in order to prepare for making the two-episode film ‘Uncle Ho’s Silent Friend’.

Q: Did all contributions by Aubrac come from the respect and admiration for Ho Chi Minh?

A: The friendship started in 1946 when President Ho Chi Minh stayed at Aubrac’s home on the outskirts of Paris and became the godfather of Aubrac’s daughter Elisabeth.

Later, despite being busy, Uncle Ho still remembered and sent gifts to his beloved goddaughter and warmly welcomed Aubrac when reunited.

The Aubrac family has carefully preserved hundreds of valuable photos featuring President Ho Chi Minh’s simplicity and friendliness in daily life. Aubrac shared that the first day he met Uncle Ho marked a turning point in his life, and from that day he had a strong attachment to Vietnam.

During his life, he made great contributions to the cause of national construction and defence, including supports to the signing of the first Vietnam-France trade agreement in 1955 as well as asking the United States to stop unconditionally the bombing of the North in Vietnam (1967) and stop the bombing of the Red River dike system in 1972.

After the resistance wars, Aubrac collected and presented the detailed map on the McNamara electric fence system to the Government of Vietnam, significantly contributing to the bomb and mine detection and disposal reconstruction of the country.

He also suggested the Government of France provide funds to support a group of six scientists, led by him, copy maps and designs of all bridges, roads, ports, airports and water supply and sewerage systems as well as plants and livestock in Vietnam that French people have studied over 100 years in order to hand over to the Vietnamese Government.

This friend did all this for the admiration and love for Vietnamese people’s beloved leader.

In addition to Aubrac, I can feel the respect for President Ho Chi Minh in the eyes of French intellectuals who met him during his time in France over six decades ago. They kept many books and articles on Uncle Ho as well as cherished the gifts that the President presented to them.

Q: Did friends of Uncle Ho in Russia create a motivation for you to make the eight-episode documentary film titled 'Ho Chi Minh voi nuoc Nga' (Ho Chi Minh with Russia)?

A: In 2011, the Reportage and Documentary Film Centre was assigned to make the series of films 'Ho Chi Minh with Russia' over a short period of time. We had to move through nearly 30 cities within 30 days, and had more than 100 interviews with historical witnesses in many regions in Russia.

Russian people have always been respectful of Uncle Ho’s deep affection for the fatherland of Lenin; they still maintain all artifacts and remembrances related to our leader, including the plaque marking the place where President Ho Chi Minh worked from 1923 to 1924 in Moscow, the statue and Ho Chi Minh Institue at the Saint Petersburg State University and the Ho Chi Minh highway in Ulyanovsk city.

I was extremely impressed by the five-metre statue of the President in the Ho Chi Minh Square in the centre of Moscow. It was constructed by the Russian People’s Artist V.Tsigal in 1990 when many statues of revolutionary leaders in Europe were destroyed, which proved that the Ho Chi Minh has always been alive in their hearts.

Deep passion for the job

Q: Do you think it is difficult for film makers to make interesting documentary films on this subject?

A: Yes, it is difficult, however, I think that if we devote all passion to the job, we can discover interesting things.

In my experience, I find that making a film is a golden opportunity for a director to access valuable documents as well as approach special people. For example, the subjects for the films including ‘Uncle Ho’s Silent Friend’, 'Nha bao Vo Nguyen Giap' (Journalist Vo Nguyen Giap) and ‘Cuoc chien chong phong toa' (The fight against blockade) were found during the time I made the previously assigned films.

Thank you so much for the interview!

HUYEN NGA/Translated by Nhan Dan Online
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