From novel to screen | The Journal of Montreal

Director Charles-Olivier Michaud will complete the first portion of filming for the film adaptation of RuKim Thúy’s best-selling novel in which the author recounted how her family fled Vietnam to settle in Quebec in the late 1970s. The newspaper visited the film set of the film.

• Read also: Beginning of the filming of Ru

The scene takes place in a community center at the end of the 1970s. Vietnamese adults and children who have fled the war in their country advance timidly into a large room where a few Quebec families are waiting for them. guide them in their new life in Quebec. Pieces of clothing and recycled toys were placed on a large table. On the other side of the room, a generous buffet awaits new arrivals.

“There is a lot of excitement in the scene we are shooting today because it is the moment when they arrive and when we welcome them, notes actress Karine Vanasse who plays the mother of the Quebec foster family. of the young heroine of the film.


Karine Vanasse and Patrice Robitaille play the parents of little Tinh's Quebec foster family.

Photo Chantal Poirier

Karine Vanasse and Patrice Robitaille play the parents of little Tinh’s Quebec foster family.

“It’s nice to say that we welcome refugees, but how do we do that? And them, what emotional state are they in when they arrive here, and how do they continue to live after the ordeals they have gone through? I find it interesting to try to understand this. »

Written by Jacques Davidts (Guys) based on the first novel by Kim Thúy, published in 2009, Ru tells the story of young Tinh (Chloé Djandji), who arrived in Quebec with her family in the late 1970s after fleeing Vietnam to escape persecution.


Patrice Robitaille

Photo Chantal Poirier

Patrice Robitaille

With her mother (Chantal Thuy), her father (Jean Bui) and her two brothers (Xavier Nguyen and Olivier Dinh), little Tinh, 10, will try to adapt to her new life in Quebec. The film, directed by Charles-Olivier Michaud (Anne), will focus on the integration challenges of this Vietnamese family.

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To recreate this family on screen, Charles-Olivier Michaud drew from the pool of Quebec actors of Vietnamese origin. It was a stroke of luck that allowed him to discover young Chloé Djandji, a 12-year-old girl who arrived in Quebec barely two years ago. It is she who defends the role of Tinh, a character inspired by Kim Thúy.

As for the actors Chantal Thuy and Jean Bui, who play Tinh’s parents, they didn’t have to look very far to find a source of inspiration to compose their characters. The story told by Kim Thúy in Ru is also that of their respective families and of several Vietnamese who arrived in Quebec in the late 1970s.


Charles-Olivier Michaud gives instructions to Chloé Djandji on the set of Ru.

Photo Chantal Poirier

Charles-Olivier Michaud gives instructions to Chloé Djandji on the set of Ru.

“In my family, my grandmother, my mother and eight of her brothers and sisters left Vietnam by boat to come and settle in a small 4 and a half in Montreal, relates actress Chantal Thuy – who has no no relationship with Kim Thúy.

“I was born in Montreal and I grew up in Montreal. But it’s always been a dream for me to tell a Vietnamese Quebec story like the one Kim told in Ru. My mother once told me that the first time she cried after leaving Vietnam was when she found herself working in a factory in Quebec. It’s very moving for me because my character in Ru also has to work in a factory. I believe there are many stories very similar to the one told in the film. »


Chantal Thuy and Chloé Djandji, who play mother and daughter in the film, laugh before shooting a scene.

Photo Chantal Poirier

Chantal Thuy and Chloé Djandji, who play mother and daughter in the film, laugh before shooting a scene.

For Karine Vanasse, a good friend of Kim Thúy for fifteen years, the film will allow the general public to discover the past of the popular author.

“People know Kim well because they got to know her through her personality, her humor, her ability to speak horror so beautifully. But not everyone has read Ru and who knows his experience and his cultural baggage before arriving here. This is not the kind of story that we have often told in the cinema and I find it good that we do it, ”concluded the actress.

The first part of the shooting of Ru ends Wednesday. A few days of filming are also planned for June.

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