Marie-Antoinette is a Vietnamese woman who reached France in 1954. Written on the sign of her restaurant is ‘SAIGON’. This is the name of some 979 restaurants in the country but also that of her homeland. Here we come to speak Vietnamese or to sing songs that mourn long lost and forgotten loves in their homeland. In the restaurant are artificial flowers and neon lights, the altar dedicated to ancestors and a depiction of the Virgin Mary hanging on a wall.
This is where Caroline Guiela Nguyen, the acclaimed young director of the French scene takes us together with her company, les Hommes Approximatifs. 11 actors on stage (French, French of Vietnamese origin, and Vietnamese) embody the invented voices of men and women marked by history and geography. Each meeting is helpful in sharing landscapes, faces, songs and languages that no longer exist anywhere but in their memory and the place they have built to keep it alive.
This is how SAIGON investigates the post-colonial identity with poetry and delicacy when its roots become a distant memory incarnated in an ethnic restaurant, suspended between today’s France and 1950s Saigon, forever detached from reality.